Daily Mail to Pay Damages for Untrue Societe Generale Debt Story

The Daily Mail & General Trust (DMGT), publisher of the U.K.’s Daily Mail and Mail on Sunday tabloids, will pay damages to Societe Generale SA after falsely saying the French bank was in dire financial difficulties.

The Mail on Sunday said in August that Societe Generale was at risk because of its exposure to Greek debt and that the French government was ready to bail out the bank, the tabloid said on its website yesterday.

“We accept that this was untrue; the bank was not in serious financial difficulties, nor was it on the brink of insolvency or in line for a bailout from the French government,” the tabloid said. “We have apologized to the bank and have agreed to pay damages.”

Societe Generale, France’s second-largest bank, fell 8.4 percent on Aug. 8, the day after the story was published. The article also named UniCredit SpA (UCG), the largest Italian bank. The Mail on Sunday didn’t mention UniCredit in its apology or disclose the amount it will pay to Societe Generale. Both banks denied the allegations at the time.

The tabloid said in August that the two banks may need a rescue “having been hugely damaged by the worsening crisis across the Eurozone.”

Daily Mail spokesmen did not immediately return a call seeking comment.

To contact the reporter on this story: Amy Thomson in London at athomson6@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Kenneth Wong at kwong11@bloomberg.net

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