Re: no smoke without fire
There is a substantial difference to saying "I did not do something" to "I have not been convicted of doing something". The former is very clear, the latter is weasel words and allows me to have done that something but to not have been caught and censured for doing so.
You're missing a little something - cultural differences. The first part of that is it was their lawyer who made the statement (and we can agree it was weasel words since that's all lawyers speak), but as a 3rd party they lawyers would't be in a position to unequivocally state that the firm had never engaged in deceptive practices and no experienced lawyer would make a mistake of saying that (after all, who knows what some junior salesperson said while trying to get a larger sale, or what some employee said while playing oneupmanship said during a late night drinks session) - there are deceptive practices that are annoyingly quite legal. "Up to 50% off on all our stock" is one of them - so long as one item had that price it'd work. "50% off used unwashed bath towels from the homeless shelter, all other items normal price" is legal in many places.
And then, well for many people an outright statement like you suggest would be rightly seen as a lie - every one deceives at some stage (even when some of us really prefer not to we still do, annoying part of being human :( ). For a company spokesman to say a company has never engaged in deceptive practices is plain wrong, if it is being interpreted as no one at the company ever told a white lie, exceeded their spending limit, make a product sound better than it really was or was going to be fixed without issue - and so many other things that could be done in the name of the company with or without the sanction of the boss.
"They've not been convicted of deceptive practice" is probably more honest and straightforward than "they've never acted in a deceptive way", even if the latter is actually true.
But really.. It was their lawyer speaking so I must agree, weasels were speaking... :)