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Mosley goes on the counter attack

NEWS STORY
28/05/2008

Max Mosley's French lawyers yesterday (Tuesday) filed a ciminal lawsuit with the most senior of the examining Judges in Paris.

The lawsuit has been taken against the News of the World, its Chief Editor and the journalist responsible for the articles published by the British tabloid on successive weekends in March and April. Under English law, this type of case is dealt with under civil law rather than criminal law.

Leading French lawyer, Philippe Ouakrat, intends to defend the brief on two counts: violation of private life (citing the production and subsequent broadcasting of sounds and images without the consent of the person concerned) and the defamatory effect of the newspaper articles. In particular, Ouakrat is to pursue the News of the World's claims of a Nazi connotation to the events, an allegation which Mosley has always denied..

"The possibility of a criminal action in addition to the civil action is extremely significant," said Ouakrat, according to L'Equipe. "Ranged against us is the Murdoch press group, and we are well aware that he makes provisions in his finances to cope with the transactions arising subsequently that involve the personalities who take him to court."

Ouakrat referred to the £100,000 paid to David Beckham following a recent action, when set against the vast sums accumulated by Murdoch from the "affairs" that feed the appetite of his readers. He also cites claims that traffic to the News of the World website multiplied six-fold in the wake of the Mosley allegations.

While the civil ruling may well bring a degree of moral satisfaction to Mosley, the criminal proceedings are focussed on the issue of taking responsibility.

"In this case, the newspaper has plumbed the depths with a strategy of extremely violent and targeted attack," said Ouakrat. "With a characteristic desire to cause harm. The intention is clear: destroy Max Mosley as President of the FIA, the headquarters of which is in Paris," continued Mr Ouakrat. I do not know how Mr Mosley is managing to live with these events, but, as far as I am concerned, bringing this type of private and intimate scene into the public domain is the equivalent of rape".

Following the filing of the lawsuit, a Judge will be nominated over the coming days. Subsequently, in accordance with the standard operating procedures of the French legal system, there will be an enquiry, which may determine any possible evidence of complicity.

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