OLD Media Moves

Was Bloomberg News victim of hoax on gold story?

April 12, 2007

Posted by Chris Roush

Michael de la Merced of the New York Times wrote Thursday that it appears that Bloomberg News might have been the victim of a hoax in a story that ran on the news service Wednesday.

BloombergDe la Merced wrote, “Yesterday afternoon, Bloomberg published an update, casting doubt on its original report and fueling suspicions that it had fallen victim to a hoax.

“At a time when private equity firms can make $45 billion leveraged buyout deals, an offer for Gold Fields, with a market value of $12.5 billion, seemed plausible. But other publications noted that the supposed financier, Edward Pastorini, could not be found on Google or news search sites like Factiva or Nexis. The first match of that name on Google was the keeper of a lighthouse in Saugerties, N.Y.

“The original article was published online and released through Bloomberg’s news service at 5:19 a.m. yesterday New York time. It was written by Stewart Bailey, a reporter in Johannesburg, who cited internal documents in reporting that an American financier named Edward Pastorini planned to announce a cash-and-stock offer for Gold Fields.”

Later, he added, “In an article published at 5:36 p.m. yesterday, William Selway, a Bloomberg reporter in San Francisco, wrote that the source of the internal documents was a Gold Fields executive who requested anonymity. He also noted that a phone number given by Mr. Pastorini was linked to a Florida partnership that had made fake takeover bids for several companies. Mr. Pastorini’s e-mail address, Mr. Selway wrote, was an AOL account.”

Read more here. The NY Times article said that Bloomberg would continue to investigate Pastorini.

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