News of the World loses privacy case against ex-F1 boss
PARIS (Reuters) - A French court ruled on Tuesday that Rupert Murdoch's now-defunct British tabloid the News of the World violated the privacy of the former head of Formula One in publishing photographs of him with five prostitutes in 2008.
Max Mosley, 71, had sued in France -- where the newspaper had been distributed and where privacy laws are strict -- after earlier winning damages in a British court from the News Corp-owned tabloid, which was shuttered during a phone-hacking scandal earlier this year.
The Paris court fined News Corp 10,000 euros (8,000 pounds) and granted Mosley damages of 7,000 euros, with an additional 15,000 euros for procedural fees.
The court did not penalise the reporter who wrote the story, Neville Thurlbeck. Mosley had sought 100,000 euros each in damages from both the paper and Thurlbeck.
The front page article, accompanied by photos and video footage, suggested that Mosley had organised what it dubbed a "sick Nazi orgy." Mosley -- who was not in court on Tuesday -- has denied the party was Nazi-themed.
"What we have here is kind of a spill-out breach on the French territory," said Mosley's attorney, Philippe Ouakrat, who said the fine was high considering publication was originally in Britain.
"I think it was very important for Mr. Mosley to obtain this sort of decision," he told Reuters TV.
The son of Sir Oswald Mosley, late leader of the British fascist party, Mosley served as president of Formula One's governing body until 2009.
The French verdict marks another legal victory for Mosley, who had earlier won 60,000 pounds in damages and 450,000 pounds in costs from a British court for breach of privacy.
Earlier this year, Mosley lost a bid for the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg to force newspapers to give advance warning to people before publishing lurid details about their private lives.
News Corp's newspaper group, News International, shut down the best-selling Sunday tabloid in July after sporadic allegations that the paper's reporters illegally listened to telephone messages ballooned into a massive scandal.
The phone hacking scandal has since engulfed not only Rupert Murdoch's UK newspaper group, but also Britain's political classes and police. Mosley's case is not directly related.
News International did not immediately return a call seeking comment on the verdict.
Mosley told Reuters in July that he would underwrite some lawsuits that victims of alleged intrusive reporting may bring against News International.
(Additional Reporting By Pauline Mevel, Writing by Alexandria Sage; Editing by Peter Graff)
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