3M the Target of $30 Million in Blackmail?
Though 3M, the parent company of 3M Promotional Products, was recently ordered to pay $1.3 million in damages to the Porton Group, a British investment fund, it has annouced today that it will press ahead with a lawsuit of its own claiming that its accusers targeted it with $30 million in blackmail. Originally sued for $40 million, of which the company only has to pay 1.3, 3M was accused by the Porton Group for failing to market and sell its patented BacLite test, a technology used to detect the superbacteria MRSA, and thus shorting the fund out of profits due on sale of the item. While denying these charges, 3M has also claimed that Porton Group CEO Harvey Boulter tried to extort as much as $30 million in an out-of-court settlement or he would use unnamed ties to the British government to block the scheduled knighthood of 3M chief executive George W. Buckley. From the New York Times:
"In its lawsuit, 3M charged that Mr. Boulter had tried to blackmail the company into settling the case for $30 million by threatening to use his ties to a top British government official to derail plans to confer a knighthood on 3M's chief executive, George W. Buckley. Mr. Boulter rejected the assertion and Mr. Buckley has received his knighthood."