VERSACE SAYS DEAL REACHED ON LIBEL SUIT

Byline: Sara Gay Forden

MILAN — Gianni Versace said Tuesday he has reached an agreement to settle a libel suit against Newspaper Publishers Inc., owners of the Independent on Sunday newspaper in London.
The agreement, which is subject to court approval, calls for the Independent to retract and apologize for statements printed last fall in a story about the Versace fashion house. The agreement also calls for the Independent to pay damages of $150,000 to Versace.
According to Versace’s U.K. lawyer, Michael Hart, the agreement was reached this week and will be presented for approval by the High Court of Justice in London on Thursday.
The Independent had no comment on the agreement.
Versace’s suit was in response to an article by Fiametta Rocco published by the Independent on Sunday, October 23, titled “Gianni in Wonderland.”
The article made a range of allegations about the viability of the Versace fashion business. It suggested that the company fails to provide detailed information about its financial operations and insinuated that there may be links between the fashion house and the Mafia.
“In a public statement to be made before the High Court of Justice, the Independent on Sunday, its editor Ian Jack and the journalist Fiametta Rocco will apologize for the untrue allegations, which they will withdraw later this week unequivocally,” Versace said in a statement Versace chief executive Santo Versace said he was “delighted” with the agreement.
“When the Independent on Sunday investigated our complaints, they quickly realized the full extent of their errors,” he said. “I expressed at the outset of our court action my confidence that we would completely clear our name. I am very pleased that this has been achieved and in such a short time.”

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