News Corp. Must Pay $44,000 Over Max Mosley Nazi ‘Orgy’ Story, Court Says

News Corp. (NWSA) was ordered to pay as much as 32,000 euros ($44,000) in fines and fees by a Paris court over a March 2008 report claiming Max Mosley took part in a Nazi-themed sex party in France.

News Corp. was wrong to publish images from a video taken by another party guest in France that violated Mosley’s privacy, a Paris court ruled today. The award included a 10,000-euro fine, 7,000 euros in damages and 15,000 euros in legal fees.

“The court was shocked by the violence” of the invasion of his privacy, Mosley’s lawyer Philippe Ouakrat said outside the Paris courtroom. “Clearly it is, once again, the methods of News of the World and the Murdoch press that are criticized” in this case.

The former Formula One president won a record 60,000-pound ($96,400) breach-of-privacy award from Rupert Murdoch’s News of the World tabloid in 2008 for publishing the story on a Nazi- themed “orgy,” along with a video, without contacting him. Mosley has denied the party was Nazi-themed. The News of the World was shuttered in July after allegations phone hacking there was widespread.

Jean-Frederic Gaultier, a lawyer for News Corp. (NWS) in Paris, declined to comment on the decision. Calls to News Corp. for comment weren’t immediately returned.

U.K. Ruling

The High Court in London also concluded in a 2008 ruling that there was no evidence any Nazi theme was intended. The European Court of Human Rights ruled in May that Mosley’s case didn’t warrant any new media restrictions and deemed the London award “an adequate remedy.”

Mosley stepped down as head of F-1 racing’s ruling body in 2009. France is one of the 21 different countries where he filed lawsuits concerning the story.

The News of the World maintained a reputation for sensational stories since its founding in 1843. In the years after World War II the newspaper, bought by Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp. in 1969, sold about 8 million copies a week. It had Britain’s largest Sunday circulation until it was shuttered, with sales of 2.7 million in May.

The scoops that made the tabloid so popular also led to its downfall. The phone-hacking scandal started in 2007 when the News of the World’s former royal reporter and a private investigator, were jailed for illegally accessing voice mails to get stories.

Neville Thurlbeck, the tabloid’s former chief reporter who wrote the Mosley story, was cleared by the Paris court. He was arrested in April in a probe of phone hacking at the paper and has filed a wrongful termination suit against a News Corp. unit over his dismissal.

To contact the reporter on this story: Heather Smith in Paris at hsmith26@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Anthony Aarons at aaarons@bloomberg.net

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