WPP libel and privacy case settles

Sir Martin Sorrell accepts £120,000 in damages

The libel and privacy action brought by Sir Martin Sorrell against  Marco Benatti  and Marco Tinelli came to a premature end yesterday with Sir Martin accepting damages of £120,000.


Sir Martin, chief executive of advertising group WPP, claimed the defendants were responsible for a defamatory blog and, with his co-claimant Daniela Weber, also claimed in respect of a highly offensive jpeg which they alleged was an invasion of privacy.


The settlement, reached 10 days into the widely reported High Court trial, did not include any admissions as to liability. The defendants had denied personal responsibility for the publications throughout the action.


The parties’ agreed statement said: “FullSix Spa, FullSix SAS, Marco Benatti and Marco Tinelli repeat their acceptance that the allegations complained of in the blogs in the libel action are untrue and that the emails which are the subject matter of the privacy action infringe the claimants’ privacy. For his part, Sir Martin Sorrell acknowledges that Mr Benatti and Mr Tinelli have given assurances that they were not personally responsible and he is not pursuing his complaint that Mr Benatti or Mr Tinelli were responsible.”


Co-claimant Ms Weber accepted a further £30,000 in damages for her privacy claim in respect of the emailed image. The defendants also agreed to contribute £50,000 towards the claimants’ costs.


5RB’sDesmond Browne QC and David Sherborne, instructed by Carter-Ruck, appeared for Sir Martin and Ms Weber.  Sara Mansoori was also involved in the action.