The Sunday Times has apologised in court to the Russian businesswoman it falsely claimed had secretly bought a £50m mansion in London.
In a statement read out at the high court on Thursday, Hannah Ready, the lawyer acting for Times Newspapers, a subsidiary of News International, said it had agreed to pay Elena Baturina an “appropriate sum” of damages plus legal costs.
The Sunday Times acknowledged at the weekend that two September 2009 stories were incorrect. They had wrongly claimed that Russia‘s richest woman, whose husband Yuri Luzhkov was mayor of Moscow at the time, had purchased Witanhurst mansion in Highgate and suggested she had broken official rules by not publicly declaring the deal.
Baturina said on Monday: “I was astonished that an obvious lie about me could be printed by a British newspaper. It sparked a wave of negative press attention directed towards me by European and Russian media which was extremely unpleasant.”
Ready, acting for Times Newspapers, said in court on Thursday: “The defendant is happy to set the record straight and to apologise to Mrs Baturina for any adverse implications that might have been drawn from these articles.”
The statement marks the formal end of the bitter two-year legal battle.
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