Virgin to name names

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The Independent Online
(First Edition)

FRESH revelations about the 'dirty tricks' campaign waged against Richard Branson's Virgin Atlantic by British Airways are set to emerge today, writes Michael Harrison.

In what will amount to a humiliating climb-down, BA is due to apologise to Virgin and Mr Branson in the High Court this afternoon and pay them pounds 610,000 damages plus legal costs in settlement of a libel action.

Afterwards Virgin is expected to make public evidence it has amassed of BA's campaign to undermine its smaller rival. Virgin is also expected to name senior employees it believes were behind the campaign. BA is understood to have agreed to pay pounds 500,000 in damages to Mr Branson and pounds 110,000 to Virgin - one of the largest libel settlements for a corporate plaintiff - on top of both sides' costs, put at pounds 3m.

According to Virgin, among BA's tactics were the poaching of Virgin passengers through 'cold-calling' sales techniques such as 'switch selling'. Passengers were offered free flights or upgrades to switch to BA. Mr Branson may bring an anti-trust case against BA.

Branson's victory, page 25