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The New Statesman faces a possible lawsuit for removing links from its website after it was threatened with legal action.

The magazine removed links to Wikileaks after it was approached by lawyers acting for Iraqi-born billionaire Nadhmi Auchi.

This led Wikileaks editor Julian Assange to accuse New Statesman of effectively defaming him and his publication by suggesting its content was inaccurate.

The blog post, from politics editor Martin Bright, dates from June and has now been restored, albeit without the Wiki links. Bright's post also now makes it clear that Auchi is appealing the verdict of a French court which found him guilty of fraud in 2003.

Much of the material linked to was old Guardian and Observer articles, many of which were removed after the papers received legal letters.

But Auchi's lawyers never approached Wikileaks to get the material removed.

Auchi has been back in the news in recent weeks because of alleged links with US president elect Obama. Index on Censorshipis following the story.

The matter is expected to be raised in Parliament. ®

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