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Published:  23 July, 2008

By Tim Atkin

Campaigning journalist and Harpers contributor Jim Budd has been subjected to a smear campaign believed to have been started by someone associated with one of the drink companies whose investment schemes Budd has investigated over the last two years. A website based in South Africa,, has accused Budd of being a serial abuser of young boys. It details three alleged complaints by King's Cross rent boys and claims that Budd was arrested for sex offences in Los Angeles in 1989 and in Lewisham in 1998. It also claims that Budd is a member of various paedophile rings. Needless to say, all of this is completely untrue,' Budd told Harpers. I have reported the matter to the police, who are treating it as harassment. and two associated sites ( and were registered in South Africa in July 2001. I wasn't aware of until mid-November. When I contacted the ISP it was immediately closed down.' A second version of the site appeared around 12 December 2001. This carried pictures of Budd obtained by deception. In late November, someone posing as a delivery driver tried to deliver a bottle of wine while his friend filmed me with a video camera,' Budd said. I refused to accept the bottle and got their car's registration number.' By 17 December this second site had been closed down, but on 19 December a print-off of part of was sent to UK members of the Circle of Wine Writers. Budd believes the websites and letter were connected to his investigative work. One of the sub folders on is called investdrinks. Clearly investdrinks has upset someone. That person is unwilling or unable to dispute what is on the site and instead has resorted to cowardly smears.'