Beckham kidnap plot: NoW ‘sorry’

Man cleared as paper apologises in the Court of Appeal

A man named by the News of the World as having been involved in a plot to kidnap Victoria Beckham accepted a public apology and a contribution to charity at the Court of Appeal this morning.

The claims against Bogdan Stefan Maris, who is also known as Alin Turcu, were made in articles appearing in the News of the World in November 2002 under the headline “Posh Kidnap” and in The Sun headlined “Becks Calls in an Army”.

Maris lost a High Court claim two years ago that he was libelled by the stories, which alleged he was involved in a plot to kidnap the former Spice Girl and wife of football star David Beckham and her sons and demand a ransom of £5m.

An appeal against that ruling had been due to begin this week, but in a statement read to the Court today, David Price, solicitor-advocate for Mr Maris announced the settlement of the proceedings:

“The defendant now accepts that the claimant was not part of a plot to kidnap Victoria Beckham or her two children. It has agreed to make a modest donation to a charity of the claimant’s choice, a contribution to his legal costs and has undertaken not to repeat the allegations of which the claimant complains.”

News Group’s solicitor, Ben Beabey, on behalf of the newspapers told Lords Justices Ward, Laws and Toulson: “I agree with what my learned friend has said and offer the defendant’s apologies to the claimant. Mr Justice Eady found that there was a plot to kidnap Victoria Beckham. The defendant now accepts that this plot did not include the claimant.”

The settlement also reverses an order made in the High Court for Mr Maris to pay the newspaper’s legal costs estimated at some £400,000.