LONDON (Reuters) - BBC World says it has been duped
in an "elaborate
deception" by a man who claimed to be a Dow Chemical spokesman
the U.S. company accepted responsibility for India's Bhopal disaster.
The news channel, after twice running the interview with a man
identified as Jude Finisterra, later said Friday's report was
A spokeswoman for Dow Chemical in Switzerland also confirmed
that the report was wrong.
The man's identity could not be confirmed and his motives were
not immediately clear. BBC officials were not readily available
for comment but the broadcaster said on air it was trying to determine
"We apologise to Dow and to anyone who watched the interview
who may have been misled by it," the BBC said in a statement
read out during a subsequent news bulletin. "Of course, the
BBC is investigating how the deception happened."
The statements by the man to the BBC, had they been true, would
have marked a major reversal for Dow Chemical, which has said
it has no responsibility for the Bhopal disaster two decades ago.
Dow shares declined 3.4 percent to 37 euros in Frankfurt.
The BBC, a publicly owned broadcaster, is in a once-a-decade
review by the government. It has been embroiled in a row over
how it is regulated and funded after its two top officials were
forced to resign following sharp criticism of its reporting on
BBC World said earlier in the day the interview took place in
Paris. It was aired on the 20th anniversary of the incident when
more than 3,500 people died after lethal gas escaped from a chemical
plant in the central Indian city.
"This morning at 9:00 and 10:00 a.m GMT BBC World ran an
interview with someone purporting to be from the Dow Chemical
Company about Bhopal," the BBC said.
"This information was inaccurate, part of an elaborate deception.
The person did not represent the company and we want to make it
clear that the information he gave was entirely inaccurate."
The factory was owned by Union Carbide, now a subsidiary of Dow
A Dow spokeswoman, speaking from Switzerland, told BBC World
that Finisterra was not a Dow employee.
"Dow confirms there was no basis whatsoever for this report,"
Marina Ashanin said. "We also confirm Jude Finisterra is
neither an employee nor a spokesperson for Dow."
"The bottom line is this is not true," a spokesman
for Dow Chemical in Zurich told Reuters.
A spokesman for Union Carbide also told Reuters the report was