Belfast Telegraph

Friday 19 December 2014

Mosley: 'Nazi orgy' case cost £30,000 and my dignity

Motorsport boss Max Mosley said today his battle to clear his name cost him money and dignity.

Mr Mosley was awarded a record £60,000 in privacy damages against the News of the World last year over a report claiming he took part in a "sick Nazi orgy".

But he said the ordeal left him out of pocket and caused irreparable damage to his reputation.

The 68-year-old president of motorsport governing body the FIA told MPs on the Culture, Media and Sport Committee that he ended up having to pay £30,000 in the case.

Mr Mosley was later accused of "taking understatement to a new level" when he revealed he thought his father, 1930s fascist leader Sir Oswald Mosley, "overdid it".

As part of a continuing inquiry by the committee into press standards, privacy and libel, Mr Mosley described how he felt about seeing himself on the front of the best-selling Sunday tabloid.

He said: "I was shocked, annoyed, angry and outraged."

He later said the feeling was worse than thieves taking all his belongings, adding: "If someone takes all your goods and money, you've got some chance of replacing it.

"If someone takes away your dignity, you will never replace it.

"No matter how long I live or where in the world I am, people know about it.

"It's not that I am ashamed of it in that I'm not ashamed of my bodily functions - but I don't want them on the front of a newspaper."

Mr Mosley said he had not ruled out bringing a separate libel action against the News of the World but did not want to appear "money-grabbing or vindictive".

The paper was ordered to pay £420,000 of Mr Mosley's legal costs but his total bill came to more than £500,000.

He said: "To me it was worth it, but an awful lot of people would say 'if in addition to getting everything repeated again, I'm going to have a big bill, I'm not going to do it'."

The motor sport boss was asked whether he had feared that his unconventional sexual tastes would be made public one day.

Committee chairman John Whittingdale said: "You said you have been attending parties of this nature for 45 years.

"Had you not always worried that this was a time bomb that, sooner or later, was going to go off?"

Mr Mosley said he believed there was only a "small chance" of details of his sex life being revealed because the S&M world was "incredibly secretive".

"It's not even talked about outside the circles. You would never tell someone who was not part of that world."

He added: "Nobody knew - my closest friend didn't know, my wife didn't know."

The FIA president said he had trusted the five women involved in the sadomasochistic sex sessions exposed by the News of the World.

The worst aspect of the case for them was the fear that their parents or children would find out, he told the MPs.

"They're all terrified of their mothers," he said.

Mr Mosley told the committee there should be no restrictions on investigative journalism.

He said: "If I were doing something wrong within the FIA or doing something wrong to do with Formula One, the press would have every right to publish it. That's what papers are for.

"But they shouldn't confuse that with wishing to publish things about someone's sex life."

The motorsport boss also criticised the Press Complaints Commission, the newspaper and magazine industry's self-regulatory body, alleging that it was not independent enough.

"It's like putting the Mafia in charge of a police station. It simply wouldn't work," he said.

Mr Mosley sparked a stunned response from MPs when he said of his father: "I think he overdid it - that stopped people thinking seriously about his ideas."

Nigel Evans, Tory MP for Ribble Valley, said: "You may have just taken understatement to a new level."

Mr Mosley said: "When I was young, I always stuck up for him. You always have sympathy for your parents and I see why he did what he did - it does not mean I agree with him."

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