BBC settles Barclay libel battle

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The Independent Online
The BBC has settled a long-running legal battle with the reclusive newspaper and property millionaires David and Frederick Barclay.

The BBC and Observer journalist John Sweeney apologised in the High Court yesterday to the brothers - owners of the Scotsman and European newspapers and the Ritz hotel - and paid just under pounds 15,000 to the brothers' favourite charity for a libel committed on BBC Radio Guernsey.

The brothers have pursued the BBC and Mr Sweeney, who presented the programme about them, through the French courts for both libel and breach of privacy as well as complaining to the Broadcasting Standards Council in the UK. The apology and payment is in settlement of both UK and French legal actions, and the broadcasting standards complaint, which has only so far been heard in part, will be dropped by the brothers.