Mosley wins another privacy case against News Corp

AP News
Posted: Nov 08, 2011 12:19 PM
Mosley wins another privacy case against News Corp

Max Mosley won another privacy suit against News Corp. Tuesday for publishing a story that claimed the former auto racing boss participated in a Nazi-themed sex orgy.

The company was ordered to pay euro32,000 ($44,000) in penalties and court costs for the story and online video published by the now-defunct News of the World. The tabloid was closed down earlier this year after it emerged that journalists there systematically broke the law in order to get scoops.

Tuesday's win was the second for Mosley, who also sued News Corp. over the story in Britain.

Mosley, who at the time of the scandal was president of the governing body that oversees Formula One racing, has also brought a case to the European Court of Human Rights, which could require Britain to pass a law forcing the press to warn people about stories that infringe on their privacy. That bid has failed once, but an appeal is pending.

In March 2008, the News of the World, then Britain's best-selling newspaper, published a front-page story alleging that Mosley engaged in a sex session with prostitutes that involved beating, domination, and Nazi role play. The story was also posted on the Web along with a video that purported to show part of the session.

While Mosley has acknowledged visiting the prostitutes, he denies the encounter had Nazi overtones.

He filed suit in France, where the newspaper was distributed, at the invitation of a judge. At the time, the judge also ordered the recall of newspapers carrying photos of the scene.

On Tuesday, the court ordered News Corp. to pay Mosley euro7,000 ($9,651) in damages and euro15,000 ($20,682) for court costs. The company must also hand over euro10,000 ($13,788) to the state.

Philippe Ouakrat, Mosley's French lawyer, said the judgment was relatively severe for a French court.

"The court was manifestly shocked," he said.

Although the News of the World has few friends left in Britain, Mosley's French suit has caused disquiet in U.K. media circles. On Monday an editorial published in The Independent newspaper wondered whether it was right to hold "a newspaper which no longer exists ... responsible for damages in a country where it was not printed."

News International Ltd., News Corp.'s U.K. subsidiary, did not immediately return an email seeking comment.


Associated Press Writer Raphael Satter in London contributed to this report.