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Billionaire Soros threatening to sue Sun Media

Billionaire George Soros is threatening to sue the Sun Media chain over a column penned by a conservative gadfly expected to play a key role in the media giant's Sun TV venture.

Soros spokesman Michael Vachon said the chair of Soros Fund Management was deeply upset by a early September Sun Media column by right-wing activist and author Ezra Levant.

In the piece, which has since been removed from Sun chain news websites, Mr. Levant offered his opinion of how Mr. Soros, a Hungarian Jew born in 1930, survived the Nazis.

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Mr. Vachon said Sun Media was notified of Mr. Soros's reaction earlier this week.

"It made false, defamatory and offensive statements and as a result Mr. Soros has notified the relevant parties of his intent to sue," he said.

"What is of concern in the article are the false assertions that Mr. Levant makes regarding George Soros's conduct as a 13-year-old child in Nazi-occupied Hungary."

He accused Mr. Levant of distorting statements made by Mr. Soros in past interviews.

Mr. Levant declined comment Thursday.

The column went on to criticize Mr. Soros for supporting Avaaz.org, an activist group organizing a petition against Sun Media's bid to get a licence for its planned right-leaning cable news network. Avaaz said Thursday that it has not received money directly from Mr. Soros. One of its founding organizations, however, has gotten a relatively small amount of funding from the billionaire and some of this has previously been passed on to Avaaz.

Earlier this week the new Sun TV venture lost the man who helped get it started and was overseeing its startup.

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Kory Teneycke, a former chief spokesman for Stephen Harper, resigned as vice-president of business development for Quebecor Media, saying he had become a liability for Sun TV. A spokesman for Quebecor could not immediately be reached for comment Thursday evening.

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Parliamentary reporter

Steven Chase has covered federal politics in Ottawa for The Globe since mid-2001, arriving there a few months before 9/11. He previously worked in the paper's Vancouver and Calgary bureaus. Prior to that, he reported on Alberta politics for the Calgary Herald and the Calgary Sun, and on national issues for Alberta Report. More

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