Monday, August 27, 2007

CUP Apologizes to Bin Mahfouz Over Allegations

JEDDAH, 9 August 2007 — Saudi businessman Khalid Bin Mahfouz has accepted a comprehensive apology together with substantial damages from well-known publishers Cambridge University Press in settlement of a libel suit following publication of a 2006 book.

An announcement to this effect was made in the London High Court recently, according to a report reaching here yesterday.

Bin Mahfouz, for many years chairman of Saudi Arabia's National Commercial Bank, has been involved in defamation proceedings against the publisher following the publication of "Alms for Jihad" in which authors J. Millard Burr and Robert O. Collins made a series of allegations against the Saudi businessman.

The book alleged that Bin Mahfouz and his family supported Osama Bin Laden and funded terrorist activities. In the hearing, the publisher accepted that there was no truth whatsoever in any of these allegations.

Cambridge University Press acknowledged that neither Bin Mahfouz nor any of his family supported or funded terrorist activities and that the allegations made in the book were action ably false and defamatory. Sincerely apologizing for any distress and embarrassment that these accusations caused to Bin Mahfouz and his family, Cambridge University Press' solicitor confirmed that the company was giving an undertaking to the court not to repeat the allegations.

Cambridge University Press also announced that it would destroy all unsold copies of the book and would ask libraries to withdraw the book from their shelves. The company will be publishing a detailed apology on its website, and paying substantial damages as well as legal costs to Bin Mahfouz. The financial details were not available.

Laurence Harris, partner at Kendall Freeman, solicitors acting for Bin Mahfouz, said: "Sheikh Khalid welcomes this settlement. When this book was published Sheikh Khalid had no choice but to start proceedings to put to rest these very serious and false allegations. He is pleased that Cambridge University Press has recognized there was no truth whatsoever in the allegations, and that his reputation has been vindicated. He will be donating the substantial damages and costs paid by Cambridge University Press to UNICEF."

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