Asensio Tries to Shut Us Down
Five years, two months, and five
days after the launch of Asensioexposed.com, Manuel Asensio finally did
what many long suspected he would. He tried to silence us.
On February 5, Asensio sent a letter to our web host demanding that the site be
shut down. He also sent the letter to Domains by Proxy, the service that
registers the site so that its owner can remain anonymous.
Signed not by Asensio himself, but by an individual we believe to be his new
assistant, the letter asserts that the site "contains libelous and slanderous
language" and that its contents have "injured Mr. Asensio both professionally
and personally." Then comes the threat:
If you do not immediately cease to provide
services to asensioexposed.com and reveal the entity responsible for making
payments to you in exchange for these services, [Asensio] will have no choice
but to pursue a legal resolution to this matter.
It's just sooooo Asensio. And so
riddled with errors that you just might wonder what became of those legendary
research skills he claims to possess.
You can read his full letter here. Our response is below.
M E M O R A N D U M
February 12, 2008
To: Asensioexposed.com Webhost and Registrar
Re: Manuel Asensio Complaint
We have carefully reviewed Mr. Asensio’s complaint about our website. Although
we believe that he has no cause for legal action, we would nonetheless like to
address his points of contention. Each allegation (italics) and our response
1. The site connects Mr. Asensio to convicted criminal
Elgindy. Mr. Asensio is mistaken. The site dissociates him from Mr.
Elgindy. The following notice has always appeared in the
This section is provided solely in response to
Its inclusion should not be interpreted as suggesting any
involvement by Manuel Asensio in the Elgindy matter.
2. The site misrepresents Mr. Asensio’s compliance
record; he had no customer complaints in 20 years. Mr. Asensio is
again mistaken. The site does document a customer
complaint. It is not his only case of noncompliance. We show that regulators
disciplined him five times before
barring him from the brokerage industry. These actions
were for failure to comply with rules unrelated to his treatment of customers.
3. The site mischaracterizes the Norman
Murphy lawsuit and misrepresents the jury verdict in
the CCSI case. Our coverage of both
lawsuits is based on court documents provided on the site. We cannot address
claims that these documents—including images of the actual jury verdicts, court
orders, and court rulings—are false unless Mr. Asensio provides specifics as to
what he considers inaccurate.
4. The site repeatedly claims that Mr. Asensio was
convicted of fraud. This is not true. We do not use the word convicted
in relation to the civil verdicts. To be certain we did not err in this regard, we
searched the site. We did not find the words convicted or conviction
used in conjunction with his name.
5. The site falsely claims Mr. Asensio improperly used
aliases to post on the internet. This claim is entirely proper. Page
4 of his Consent Decree with NASD documents this
violation of its rules.
6. The site alleges without evidence that Mr. Asensio’s
associates produce his work. This characterization is false. We offer substantial evidence that, in our view,
refutes Mr. Asensio’s claim to be sole author of his reports. We show that he
inadvertently admitted as much at deposition.
7. The site incorrectly claims that Mr. Asensio’s
brokerage was expelled from the securities industry. The site quotes
directly from page 15 of the firm’s NASD/FINRA file,
which indicates it was expelled on August 31, 2007.
8. Mr. Asensio’s brokerage was not the subject of a
single investigation. The brokerage’s
disciplinary file affirms that it was the subject of multiple investigations
during its 14 years in business. On page 13, the file indicates that a total of
seven regulatory actions were taken against it during this time.
9. Mr. Asensio’s withdrawal of his [personal] NASD
membership as well as the brokerage’s withdrawal were not
due to adverse regulatory rulings. The objection here is elusive. The
site does not claim to know the reasons for these events, although it does
opinion as to possible reasons for the brokerage closing.
* * * * * *
We have given the complaint careful consideration and found it without merit.
Nonetheless, we would like to stress that accuracy is important to us. Mr.
Asensio is always welcome to advise us of statements that he believes false. We
ask only that he substantiate his position with appropriate documentation. If
revisions are in order, we will make them.
Mr. Asensio has been a defendant in a libel suit for 10 years. He must know that
neither truthful statements nor opinions constitute libel. In terms of a defamation
claim, he must realize that the statute of limitations expired long ago on
most of the site content. This is to say nothing of his
public announcement more than five years ago that
he had decided against any effort to shut down the site.
We also note that Mr. Asensio presents himself as a great believer in freedom of
expression. He advocates legislation that would insulate him from lawsuits by
companies that consider his characteristically biased and often unfair reports
to be libelous. He requires all wishing to use Asensio.com to agree to hold that
harmless for its contents. Users must also pledge not to seek Asensio.com's
registration information from Domains by Proxy (DBP). Yet he now demands that
DBP release the same information about us—and even that our site be shut down.
From this, it appears that Mr. Asensio feels entitled to deny others the right to share opinions and truthful information
while demanding that he be free to publish with impunity. Needless to say, this is rank hypocrisy. We have little doubt that Mr.
Asensio knows it.
* We have edited some points in the letter for
the purpose of brevity.