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Contact/Links

Murat Libel Settlements

17 July 2008: Robert Murat accepts a £600,000 settlement from 11 British newspapers
 
14 November 2008: Robert Murat accepts a 'substantial' undisclosed sum from Sky News

Robert Murat pages
Period covered
03 May 2007 - 30 June 2007, with timeline
01 July 2007 - 31 December 2007
01 January 2008 - Date
Murat Libel Settlements
17 July 2008 / 14 November 2008

 
BREAKING NEWS: Murat To Get Damages From Papers, 15 July 2008
 
Murat To Get Damages From Papers Sky News 
 
BREAKING NEWS 1:31pm UK, Tuesday July 15, 2008
 
Robert Murat has settled a claim for damages with a number of British newspapers over allegations of his involvement in the Madeleine McCann inquiry.

Robert Murat was the first suspect in the Madeleine McCann investigation
Robert Murat was the first suspect in the Madeleine McCann investigation

Mr Murat will be in the High Court in London on Thursday to receive apologies from the newspapers.
 
Sky's crime correspondent Martin Brunt said Mr Murat has settled with the lawyers of eight newspapers.
 
It is believed however that he was looking to sue 11 media outfits.
 
"I'm told there was speculation about a figure of £2m he was claiming," Brunt said.
 
"As I understand it, he's expecting to get £250,000 to £500,000."
 
"Sources say he will get a 'good substantial sum'."
 
Brunt added that Mr Murat was expecting to get a number of apologies read out in court.
 
It was widely considered at the time that this was one of the biggest ever libel claims.
 
Newspapers both in Portugal and Britain wrote many articles about Mr Murat when he became the first 'arguido' - or suspect - in the case of Madeleine's disappearance.
 
He was hauled in by Portuguese policemen, spoken to and questioned for about 17 hours before being released.
 
He vehemently denied any involvement and was quite taken aback by the newspaper speculation coverage of his alleged involvement.
 
Apart from allegations of him being involved, there were lurid allegations written about him and his private life.
 
"It will be of great relief to him," Brunt said.
 
"Certainly, the stigma of what's been said will be removed.
 
"It will go to clearing his name in the eyes of the British public. His reputation is somewhat restored."
 
Mr Murat remains arguido in Portugal and Brunt said there was no sign yet that that would change any time soon.
 
Madeleine disappeared on May 3, 2007, days before her fourth birthday.
 
She had been left sleeping in a holiday apartment as her parents Kate and Gerry dined with friends in a nearby tapas bar in the resort of Praia da Luz in southern Portugal.
 
Spokesman for the McCanns, Clarence Mitchell, said the couple would not be commenting as it is a matter for Mr Murat and his lawyers.

 
Madeleine McCann: Robert Murat to get libel damages from British newspapers, 15 July 2008
 
Madeleine McCann: Robert Murat to get libel damages from British newspapers Telegraph
 
By Richard Edwards
Last Updated: 1:31PM BST 15/07/2008
 
Robert Murat, the British expatriate made a formal suspect over the disappearance of Madeleine McCann, has settled one of the widest ranging libel claims in the history of British media.
 
The 34-year-old, who lived 100 yards from the Portuguese apartment where the missing girl was last seen, launched proceedings against 11 newspapers in April- the largest number of separate damages claims made against the British media by one person on the same issue.
 
Although there was speculation from media lawyers that Mr Murat could receive around £2million, it is understood the figure is nearer to £500,000.
 
He is understood to have settled with the lawyers of all the newspapers including The Evening Standard, The Daily Mail, the Mirror group, the Express group, The Sun and The Scotsman. Two claims against The Metro and The News of the World were said to be "peripheral".
 
Mr Murat will be in the High Court in London on Thursday to receive apologies from the newspapers and is expecting a number of them to be read out in open court.
 
He and his family were believed to have been particularly aggrieved by a number of reports in the aftermath of his being made an arguido, or official suspect, which repeated claims made by Portuguese media.
 
He was questioned by police for 17 hours last May, less than two weeks after Madeleine's disappearance from the holiday resort of Praia da Luz, and was subsequently made an arguido. He has always strongly protested his innocence.
 
In at least one case - the false allegation that there were pornographic images on his computer - Portuguese media later published corrections.
 
A relative of Mr Murat said the British reports had left "unfair stains on the name of a man against whom there is not a shred of evidence".
 
Mr Murat was represented by London-based law firm Simons Muirhead and Burton.
 
The other formal suspects in the case are Madeleine's parents, Kate and Gerry McCann. Express Newspapers printed front-page apologies to the McCanns for running stories falsely suggesting they were involved in their daughter's disappearance.

 
Madeleine suspect in damages win, 15 July 2008
 
Madeleine suspect in damages win BBC News
 
Page last updated at 12:58 GMT, Tuesday, 15 July 2008 13:58 UK
 
Expat Robert Murat has settled a claim for damages over allegations in 11 UK newspapers that he was involved in the disappearance of Madeleine McCann.
 
Briton Mr Murat is still an official suspect - or arguido - in Portugal.
 
He was questioned by police but denied any involvement in the disappearance of Madeleine, who vanished aged three from an Algarve apartment in May last year.
 
The libel settlement - which was due to be heard in court on Thursday - is for about £550,000 and includes an apology.
 
In April Mr Murat's lawyers, Simons Muirhead & Burton, said they were pursuing 11 leading British newspapers and Sky TV over allegedly libellous stories.
 
On Tuesday a spokeswoman for Mr Murat said the settlement and written apology had been agreed with the 11 newspapers.
 
In their April statement, his lawyers named the Sun, Daily Express, Sunday Express, Daily Star, Daily Mail, London Evening Standard, Metro, Daily Mirror, Sunday Mirror, News of the World and the Scotsman.
 
In March Madeleine's parents Kate and Gerry McCann reached a similar libel settlement and got an apology from Express Newspapers for suggesting they were responsible for her death.
 
Media commentator and journalism professor Roy Greenslade said the case showed newspapers had "lost their heads" over the Madeleine story.
 
He said newspapers needed to be more aware that when crimes happened abroad it did not "relieve them of the normal rules that they should apply".
 
He added that competition had driven them to "bid each other up" in terms of what they thought they could get away with in their reporting.
 
"Profits and sales ruled, rather than principles and ethics," he said.
 
Villa searched
 
Mr Murat, 34, was questioned by police 11 days after Madeleine went missing from the Praia da Luz resort on 3 May 2007, before being made a formal suspect.
 
Police searched the nearby villa where he lived with his mother after Sunday Mirror journalist Lori Campbell spoke to the British Embassy and the police about Mr Murat.
 
The expatriate, who described himself as half-Portuguese, had become known to journalists and told them he had been helping police with translation work during the search.
 
Last month Mr Murat said he hoped the return of computers seized from him by police signalled they were to drop his status as a formal suspect soon.
 
His mother, Jenny Murat, has always maintained she was with her son at home on the night of Madeleine's disappearance.
 
Under Portuguese law someone can remain an official suspect without charge for as long as the investigation is continuing.
 
Kate and Gerry McCann also remain official suspects in the inquiry.
 
In their libel settlement the Express Newspapers group paid £550,000 to the Find Madeleine campaign, and the Daily Express and Daily Star issued front-page apologies admitting the stories were inaccurate.
 
Madeleine suspect in damages win BBC News (update)
 
Page last updated at 16:57 GMT, Tuesday, 15 July 2008 17:57 UK
 
In this update the following text is inserted between the 4th and 3rd last paragraphs:
 
Legal editor for the Daily Telegraph Joshua Rozenberg told the BBC the newspapers were now clearly admitting they could not defend their allegations.
 
"They realise that this is one of the most damaging things you could say about anybody, and it appears that they have all clubbed together and agreed to settle the libel claim out of court."
 
He said the fact Mr Murat was still an official suspect did not affect the libel case.
 
"The only way in which the newspapers could defend this case would be if they could prove the truth of what they alleged. And simply saying this is the status he happens to have under Portuguese law, goes nowhere near that particular demand.
 
"As far as English law is concerned, he is being vindicated and the newspapers are very clearly saying that they cannot justify what they alleged."
 
Profile: Robert Murat BBC News
 
Page last updated at 14:05 GMT, Tuesday, 15 July 2008 15:05 UK
 
Robert Murat - the first person to be named as an official suspect - or arguido - in the disappearance of Madeleine McCann has agreed an out of court settlement with a number of UK newspapers.
 
Madeleine McCann went missing in Praia da Luz, Portugal, on 3 May 2007. She was three at the time.
 
During the police search Robert Murat, 34, a former property developer who lived close to the holiday apartment where she disappeared, became well known to journalists and told them he had been helping police with translation work.
 
Mr Murat, who previously lived in Hockering, Norfolk, had been living with his mother Jenny, 71, in Praia da Luz.
 
Police searched the villa where they lived after Sunday Mirror journalist Lori Campbell spoke to the British Embassy and the police about Mr Murat.
 
Mr Murat was questioned by police 11 days after Madeleine went missing, before being made a formal suspect - or arguido.
 
A subsequent two-day search of his home was carried out by police in August 2007.
 
The British expatriate, who described himself as half-Portuguese, has consistently stated his innocence.
 
His mother, Jenny Murat, has always maintained she was with her son at home on the night of Madeleine's disappearance.
 
And, when he was first identified as a suspect, Mr Murat said he was "a scapegoat" for something he did not do.
 
Shortly after being named as an arguido he told Sky News this status had "ruined" his life.
 
And, last October, he expressed similar sentiments when he told the BBC his situation had become "very, very difficult".
 
Mr Murat's campaign to clear his name stepped up in January when his mother said it was time for her son's status to be reviewed.
 
In a BBC interview, Jenny Murat said police had not contacted him for six months and they wanted to get back on with their lives.
 
Asked whether her son believed his suspect status would be removed, she said: "I don't think Robert thinks about that, obviously he hopes it's going to be, but we just don't have a clue."
 
In March it emerged that the Briton had computers and other possessions seized by Portuguese police returned to him.
 
Legal action
 
At the time he said the move was a "very positive sign" for him.
 
Mr Murat said: "Why would they return something if it was in the middle of being investigated in any way, shape or form?
 
"We are very happy to have the computers back, and I hope I will have my arguido status dropped very shortly."
 
The following month his lawyers, Simons Muirhead & Burton, revealed that their client planned to sue 11 leading British newspapers and Sky TV over allegedly libellous stories.
 
In a statement they named the Sun, Daily Express, Sunday Express, Daily Star, Daily Mail, London Evening Standard, Metro, Daily Mirror, Sunday Mirror, News of the World and the Scotsman.
 
The out of court libel settlement, for about £550,000 and an apology, was reached just days before the case was due to be heard in court.
 
Mr Murat remains an official suspect in Portugal.
 
Under Portuguese law someone can remain an official suspect without charge for as long as the investigation is continuing.
 
In March, Madeleine's parents Kate and Gerry McCann, who also remain suspects, won a libel settlement and apology from Express Newspapers for suggesting they were involved in their daughter's disappearance.
 
The newspaper group paid the couple £550,000 in damages.
 
Early in July 2008, Portugal's attorney-general confirmed that prosecutors had received the final report from police investigating Madeleine's disappearance, but said the case was still "the subject of careful assessment and consideration".
 
Local media said detectives have concluded there was not sufficient evidence to charge anyone in connection with the little girl's disappearance in May last year, and that the case should be closed.
 
But lawyers for the McCanns and Mr Murat said they had received no word of a development that would mean the lifting of their suspect status.
 
Madeleine suspect wins damages BBC News video
 
Page last updated at 14:33 GMT, Tuesday, 15 July 2008 15:33 UK
 
Expat Robert Murat has settled a claim for damages over allegations in 11 UK newspapers that he was involved in the disappearance of Madeleine McCann. Richard Bilton reports.
 
Law expert on Murat settlement BBC News video
 
Page last updated at 16:12 GMT, Tuesday, 15 July 2008 17:12 UK
 
Robert Murat has settled a claim for damages over allegations in 11 UK newspapers that he was involved in the disappearance of Madeleine McCann.
 
Niri Shan, a media partner at law firm Taylor Wessing, who specialises in defamation, spoke to the BBC about the settlement.
 
Clifford on Murat damages BBC News video
 
Page last updated at 20:25 GMT, Tuesday, 15 July 2008 21:25 UK
 
Robert Murat has settled a claim for damages over allegations in 11 UK newspapers that he was involved in Madeleine McCann's disappearance.
 
Publicist Max Clifford gives his view on the settlement.

 

Madeleine McCann: Robert Murat settles libel action against newspapers, 15 July 2008

 
Madeleine McCann: Robert Murat settles libel action against newspapers Guardian
 
Leigh Holmwood and Oliver Luft
Tuesday July 15, 2008
 
Robert Murat, an official suspect in the Madeleine McCann case, has settled his libel action against a number of British newspapers over claims he was involved in her disappearance.
 
Murat will fly from Portugal to London on Thursday for the settlement at the high court, his lawyers confirmed today.
 
The settlement is with eight UK national newspapers, with damages totalling between £250,000 and £500,000, according to Sky News.
 
Murat launched his action in April against 11 newspapers and one TV broadcaster in what was the largest number of claims ever made against different British media outlets in the same case.
 
The 34-year-old was seeking a formal public apology and undisclosed damages from Sky, the Daily Express, Sunday Express, Daily Star, Daily Mail, London Evening Standard, Metro, Daily Mirror, Sunday Mirror, News of the World, Sun and the Scotsman.
 
A spokeswoman for Murat's law firm, Simons Muirhead & Burton, said: "Robert Murat is due in court for the settlement hearing at 10am on Thursday morning, after which it's expected either he or his legal representative will give a statement to the press."
 
Sky News today reported that Murat had settled the action with eight unnamed newspapers for damages of between £250,000 and £500,000.
 
Sky News crime correspondent Martin Brunt said: "There has been a settlement in the last few days. Murat is coming over to hear apologies and hear the terms of the settlement."
 
The law firm secured an apology from the Scotsman in May over an article headlined "Madeleine: He jokes of being 'No.1 suspect'", which the newspaper admitted contained a "number of defamatory allegations" about Murat. "It was a seriously defamatory allegation and wholly untrue," the Scotsman said.
 
Murat, who lived close to the Praia da Luz apartment in Portugal where Madeleine went missing in May 2007, was the first formal suspect, or arguido, named in the McCann case but has denied any involvement in her disappearance last May.
 
The 34-year-old property developer has been the subject of intense media scrutiny since shortly after Madeleine went missing.
 
In March, Express Newspapers was forced to apologise in the high court and on the front pages of its four newspapers to Gerry and Kate McCann as part of a libel settlement, over suggestions that the couple were involved in her disappearance. The group paid £550,000 in damages to the Find Madeleine fund.

 

PR Guru Clifford On Murat Pay-Out, 15 July 2008

 

Jul 15, 2008
 
PR Guru Clifford On Murat Pay-Out
 
Missing Madeleine McCann suspect Robert Murat has settled his claim for damages from several British newspapers. Sky News presenter Jeremy Thompson talks to publicist Max Clifford.
 
00:03:32

 
Murat All Smiles, 15 July 2008
 
Murat All Smiles Sky News
 
Martin Brunt
July 15, 2008 2:12 PM
 
He's not cleared yet, but a £500,000 (or thereabouts) libel settlement and apologies from British newspapers will put a smile back on the face of Madeleine suspect Robert Murat.
 
I'm told he's coming to London on Thursday to hear the papers say sorry in the High Court.
 
Yes, I think if I was him I'd want to be there.
 
I'm sure he'll be careful not to gloat, because he's still an arguido and isn't allowed to speak publicly about the Portuguese investigation.
 
I could try to get him plastered and reveal all. Only he says he doesn't drink.
 
The McCanns got a similar amount from Express newspapers, so the Madeleine coverage has cost Fleet Street a million pounds, plus legal bills.
 
Given the huge circulation the story generated last year, they probably think it was worth it.
 
The important thing for them was to avoid the mug's game of a costly libel trial.

 

A small price for the press to pay for irresponsible behaviour15 July 2008

 
A small price for the press to pay for irresponsible behaviour Guardian
 
Eleven newspapers libelled Robert Murat. Unfortunately, it will take more than a £50,000 penalty to deter them in future
 
Roy Greenslade
Tuesday July 15, 2008
 
Robert Murat's libel settlement is hardly a surprise. Newspapers did overstep the mark in their reporting and, given the award to the McCanns in March, the outcome was entirely predictable.
 
The reason for the capitulation of 11 newspapers before the case reached court are very clear. All have very expensive legal teams and were advised by their separate batteries of lawyers that they had no hope of winning. Indeed, they might well end up paying out much more in terms of legal fees and, more tentatively, might also suffer from a loss of credibility among their audiences too (not that the credibility of most of the 11 is that high anyway).
 
The facts of the matter are unarguable. Murat was libelled. Not once, but many times over. Scores of reports, and many headlines too, defamed him. Like Kate and Gerry McCann, he was often treated not as a suspect by papers but as a culprit.
 
But these papers know the rules. So why did they get it so wrong? How did they fall into the trap of publishing so many wild and inaccurate stories in the aftermath of Madeleine McCann's disappearance?
 
I think there are three clear reasons. First, it happened overseas. Editors and reporters appeared to think that the overriding rule – the one based on that long-held British judicial precedent that regards everyone as innocent until proven guilty – was no longer relevant because it was a Portuguese case.
 
Second, the level of competition among all these newspapers meant that they outbid each other in an attempt to attract readers by printing ever more lurid allegations against the people supposedly connected to the girl's disappearance. Many of the stories, culled from anonymous sources (and, quite possibly, no sources at all) were utterly irresponsible and, most certainly, unprovable.
 
Papers were also competing against 24-hour news on TV and radio. Therefore they felt under pressure to get new angles on a story which has only ever had a couple of facts: a child vanished; the police named one man as a suspect – on the thinnest of evidence; the police later named the McCanns as suspects. Everything else was speculation.
 
Third, and this goes to the heart of the problem, these papers have been pushing at the boundaries of the British contempt rule for years. More is published about British crime suspects in advance of their being charged (and sometimes afterwards) than was ever the case 20 years ago. Why? Because they have got away with it. In very, very rare cases only have papers suffered for breaking the rules.
 
Some judges have asked attorney-generals to take a lot at certain cases, but nothing has come of it. The papers, standing by their claim to act in the greater public interest, have gradually began to publish clearly prejudicial material prior to trials. Will the McCann and Murat cases give them pause for thought? I doubt it because the punishment is so little compared to the rewards of adding to, or maintaining, readerships in a period of prolonged sales decline.
 
The 11 papers are being forced to pay out £550,000 between them – a little over £50,000 apiece - and that may seem like a small price to pay in order to continue their lawless activities while, of course, telling their readers that politicians are responsible for the (allegedly) awful state of law and order in Britain.

 
Murat reaches out of court settlement for about £550,000, 16 July 2008
 
Murat's £½m damages in Madeleine case The Scotsman
 
Published Date: 16 July 2008
By Lindsay McIntosh
 
ROBERT Murat, an official suspect in the Madeleine McCann case, is to receive damages of more than half a million pounds from UK newspapers over allegations he was involved in the three-year-old's disappearance.
 
He sued for libel and has now settled his claim in a deal that will also result in him receiving an apology, his spokesman said yesterday.
 
Mr Murat, a British expat, was questioned by police after the disappearance of three-year-old Madeleine, who vanished from an apartment in the Algarve, Portugal, in May last year. He denied any involvement in her disappearance.
 
He is still an official suspect – or arguido – in Portugal.
 
His case against the media was due to be heard tomorrow, but he has reached a settlement for about £550,000.
 
In April, Mr Murat's lawyers, Simons Muirhead and Burton, revealed they were pursuing 11 leading British newspapers and Sky TV over allegedly libellous reports. In their statement they named the Sun, Daily Express, Sunday Express, Daily Star, Daily Mail, London Evening Standard, Metro, Daily Mirror, Sunday Mirror, News of the World and The Scotsman.
 
The Scotsman has already apologised to Mr Murat and paid his legal costs for that part of his complaint.
 
Yesterday, a spokeswoman for Mr Murat said a settlement and written apology had been agreed with the other newspapers, and a statement would be read at the High Court in London today.
 
Mr Murat, 34, was questioned by police 11 days after Madeleine went missing from the Praia da Luz resort on 3 May, 2007.
 
Officers searched the nearby villa where he lived with his mother, after the Sunday Mirror journalist Lori Campbell spoke to the British Embassy and the police about Mr Murat. The expat, who described himself as half-Portuguese, had become known to journalists and told them he had been helping police with translation work during the search.
 
Last month, Mr Murat said he hoped the return of computers seized from him by police signalled they were soon to drop his arguido status.
 
His mother, Jenny Murat, has always maintained she was with her son at home on the night of Madeleine's disappearance. And Mr Murat has consistently and strenuously denied any involvement.
 
Under Portuguese law, someone can remain an official suspect without charge for as long as the investigation continues.
 
Madeleine's parents, Kate and Gerry McCann, also remain official suspects in the inquiry.
 
In March, they reached a similar libel settlement and got an apology from Express Newspapers for suggesting they had been responsible for her death.
 
Express Newspapers paid £550,000 to the Find Madeleine campaign, and the Daily Express and Daily Star issued front-page apologies admitting the stories were inaccurate.

 
Murat reaches a deal of thousands with the papers, 16 July 2008
 
Murat reaches a deal of thousands with the papers Correio da Manhã
 
Maddie case - Lawyer ponders sueing the Portuguese state
 
Text: Henrique Machado
16 July 2008 - 00h30
Thanks to 'astro' for translation
 
Robert Murat's priority is "to finally stop being an arguido", 14 months after the Judiciária of Portimão indicted him over the abduction of Madeleine. Only then "an eventual lawsuit against the Portuguese state will be pondered", lawyer Francisco Pagarete tells CM. For the time being, the deal of hundreds of thousands of euros in compensation from 11 British newspapers and Sky News has been confirmed.

According to the television channel itself, the numbers that have been agreed upon with eight out of the 11 publications are known: between 313 thousand and 626 thousand euros. The outlines of the decision will be known tomorrow morning, during a hearing at the High Court in London. The newspapers who are initially at the issue are: Daily Express, Sunday Express, Daily Star, Daily Mail, London Evening Standard, Metro, Daily Mirror, Sunday Mirror, News of the World, Sun and Scotsman.

The agreement with Murat further includes a written apology, BBC News adds, and according to this channel, the full value of compensations may even reach 690 thousand euros. It is recalled that the lawsuit against the newspapers and Sky News, over defamation, was brought forward in April, and that in these cases, Murat, who will travel to England on purpose, has always been represented by the British law office of Simons Muirhead & Burton.

Concerning the Scottish publication 'Scotsman', an apology to Murat was agreed upon back in May, over an article with "seriously defamatory and completely false" allegations. Concerning lawsuits that are already being pursued in our country, lawyer Francisco Pagarete advances that "for the time being they are two – criminal complaints against Portuguese newspapers – and there may be two further lawsuits but they are still being studied".

As soon as he has access to the process, Francisco Pagarete will also "verify who gave false witness statements" in order to incriminate Murat. Then, "they will be sued".

The couple's agreement

550 thousand pounds paid

The other two arguidos, Kate and Gerry McCann, obtained compensation from the Express Group newspapers, for the amount of 550 thousand pounds.

Apology

The four newspapers in the group apologised to the couple.

 
£550,000 libel win for McCann 'suspect', 16 July 2008
 
£550,000 libel win for McCann 'suspect' The Independent
 
By Robert Verkaik, Law Editor
Wednesday, 16 July 2008
 
Eight British newspapers are to pay a combined total of £550,000 to a man they accused of being a prime suspect in the disappearance of Madeleine McCann.
 
Lawyers for Robert Murat, who owns a villa 150 yards from the flat where Madeleine went missing while on holiday with her family in Portugal, confirmed yesterday that he had settled his claim for defamation against at least eight papers.
 
The case follows a similar sized libel payout by Express Newspapers to Gerry and Kate McCann, who won front-page apologies in the Daily Express and Daily Star over allegations that they were involved in their daughter's disappearance.
 
In May, The Scotsman published an apology to Mr Murat after its "seriously defamatory" and "untrue" coverage likened his behaviour to that of the Soham murderer Ian Huntley, suggesting that he was involved in the abduction of the thee-year-old girl.
 
Mr Murat, 34, was questioned by police 11 days after Madeleine went missing from the Praia da Luz resort on 3 May 2007, before being made a formal suspect or arguido. Police searched the villa where he lived with his mother after the Sunday Mirror journalist Lori Campbell spoke to the British embassy and the police about Mr Murat.
 
Last month Mr Murat said he hoped the return of computers seized from him by police signalled that they would soon drop his status as a suspect.
 
His mother, Jenny Murat, has always maintained she was with her son at home on the night of Madeleine's disappearance.
 
Mr Murat is expected to return to Britain on Thursday to attend a formal High Court hearing in which an agreed statement will be read out by his lawyers.
 
In their April statement, his lawyers named The Sun, the Daily Express, Sunday Express, Daily Star, Daily Mail, London Evening Standard, Metro, Daily Mirror, Sunday Mirror, News of the World and The Scotsman.
 
Early this month, Portugal's attorney-general confirmed that prosecutors had received the final police report, but said the case was still "the subject of careful assessment".
 
Local media said detectives have concluded there was not sufficient evidence to charge anyone, and that the case should be closed.

 
Madeleine McCann: Suspect Robert Murat settles libel claim, 17 July 2008
 
Madeleine McCann: Suspect Robert Murat settles libel claim Telegraph
 
By Caroline Gammell
Last Updated: 12:47PM BST 17/07/2008
 
Robert Murat, the first formal suspect in the disappearance of Madeleine McCann, has spoken of the "utter destruction" of his life after settling a libel action against several newspapers which implicated him in her abduction.

He won £600,000 in damages and an apology over nearly 100 "seriously defamatory" articles.

The newspapers involved - including Associated Newspapers, Express Newspapers, MGN Limited and News Group Newspapers - conceded that 34-year-old Mr Murat had no involvement in Madeleine's case.

Mr Murat, a British ex-pat and property developer, who lived 100 yards from where the missing girl was last seen in the Algarve 15 months ago, helped police with translation in the first few days after her disappearance.

He was questioned by police less than two weeks after she vanished and made an arguido, the Portuguese equivalent of a suspect, but has always strongly protested his innocence.

Speaking outside the High Court, Mr Murat said he felt "vindicated" by the apologies and payout.

He said the claims - which included the insinuation he had paedophile tendencies - had ruined his reputation.

"The newspapers in this case brought about the total and utter destruction of mine and my family's life and caused immense distress," he said.

"Today's statement of full apology in open court means I can emerge from this action vindicated and with the recognition and acknowledgement that what was said against me was wholly untrue."

Mr Murat, who was represented by London-based law firm Simons Muirhead and Burton, thanked all those who had supported him over the last year.

Asked if he thought it would be possible to rebuild his life, Mr Murat, who plans to continue to live in Portugal, said: "We are going to try."

He was accompanied by his friend Michaela Walczuch and IT consultant Sergey Malinka who also won compensation and an apology for libellous reports.

Mr Murat remains an arguido in the case of the missing girl, as do Madeleine's parents, Kate and Gerry McCann.

Earlier this year Express Newspapers printed front-page apologies to the McCanns for running stories falsely suggesting they were involved in their daughter's disappearance.

 
Court 'vindicates' McCann suspect, 17 July 2008
 
Court 'vindicates' McCann suspect BBC News
 
Page last updated at 15:25 GMT, Thursday, 17 July 2008 16:25 UK
 
Madeleine McCann suspect Robert Murat has accepted a £600,000 settlement from 11 British newspapers in a libel claim.
 
Mr Murat told the BBC in an exclusive interview that the court award represented a "vindication".
 
He said the more than 100 articles and sensational headlines about him had caused the "total and utter destruction" of his life.
 
Mr Murat said: "I would have preferred to have not gone through it, than had to get to this stage."
 
He said an apology from the papers allowed him to "rebuild his life".
 
"I have to live my life knowing that I was linked to this situation but with a strong family I do have a future, I do feel I have a future - now which direction that takes me in I don't know. At this moment I have no idea."
 
Mr Murat is still an official suspect - or arguido - in the three-year-old's disappearance in Portugal in May 2007.
 
He said: "I don't want to be an arguido... I want to carry on with my life. But it doesn't necessarily mean I want the case to be shelved in Portugal. I do think the case should continue - I do think they should carry on to find that child."
 
The 34-year-old had travelled from his home in the Algarve to accept the settlement at London's High Court.
 
His then girlfriend Michaela Walczuch and IT consultant Sergey Malinka also brought proceedings against Associated Newspapers, Express Newspapers, MGN Limited and News Group Newspapers and were awarded "substantial six figure settlements".
 
Mr Murat's solicitor, Louis Charalambous, said they had taken the action over "baseless inaccurate media coverage".
 
He said the newspapers had accepted that they had not been involved in Madeleine's disappearance.
 
"They accept that Mr Murat's actions after the abduction were entirely proper and were motivated by a desire to help find Madeleine McCann," Mr Charalambous said.
 
"Until now Robert Murat has had to watch silently as the worst elements of the British media have gone about destroying his good name and reputation."
 
In an interview with the BBC's Richard Bilton Mr Murat said the media's behaviour had been "disgusting".
 
"The media does need to have a look at itself and I think that if it can't look at itself I think there has to be some kind of protection for people that don't have the resources to be able to confront them."
 
The 11 papers involved are the Daily Mail, Evening Standard, Metro, Daily Express, Daily Star, Sunday Express, Daily Mirror, Sunday Mirror, Daily Record (Scotland), Sun and News of the World.
 
All the papers have agreed to publish reports of the statement to recognise the distress and damage which they have caused.
 
"The defendants apologise to each of the claimants for publishing false allegations about them", Keith Mathieson the papers' solicitor said. "They very much regret the distress these publications caused".
 
Outside the court Mr Murat said: "I am pleased that the publications concerned have today admitted the falsity of all their allegations and I can now start to rebuild my life."
 
In March, Madeleine's parents Kate and Gerry McCann reached a libel settlement and got an apology from Express Newspapers for suggesting they were responsible for her death.
 
Former Sunday Times editor Andrew Neil said the pay-out to Mr Murat would not stop a similar barrage of stories happening again because the damages were too low.
 
"The papers have not been hurt enough," he said.
 
"£600,000 between several very rich papers is pocket change."
 
McCann suspect's libel victory
 
Page last updated at 10:51 GMT, Thursday, 17 July 2008 11:51 UK
 
 
Madeleine McCann suspect Robert Murat has accepted a £600,000 settlement from 11 British newspapers in a libel claim.
 
Mr Murat said he felt "vindicated" and spoke of the "total and utter destruction" caused to his family by allegations made in the publications.
 
Michaela Walczuch, a friend of Mr Murat's, also received libel damages. She told reporters outside the court of the distress caused to her family.
 
Mr Murat is still an official suspect - or arguido - in the three-year-old's disappearance in Portugal. (00:05:25)
 
Madeleine suspect on court win
 
Page last updated at 13:15 GMT, Thursday, 17 July 2008 14:15 UK
 
 
Robert Murat has accepted compensation of £600,000 from 11 newspapers that wrongly accused him of involvement in the disappearance of Madeleine McCann.
 
In an exclusive interview with the BBC's Richard Bilton, Mr Murat said his status as suspect in Portugal made the British press make mistakes. (00:11:12)
 
Libel deal 'vindicates' Murat
 
Page last updated at 17:35 GMT, Thursday, 17 July 2008 18:35 UK
 
 
Robert Murat says he feels "vindicated" after reaching a £600,000 settlement from 11 British newspapers in a libel claim.

Mr Murat is still an official suspect following the disappearance of Madeleine McCann in Portugal in May 2007. Richard Bilton reports. (00:03:10)

 
Robert Murat accepts £600,000 after Madeleine McCann allegations, 17 July 2008
 
Robert Murat accepts £600,000 after Madeleine McCann allegations Timesonline
 
By Nico Hines
17 July 2008
 
Robert Murat has accepted a £600,000 settlement from media outlets who made false accusations against him in the wake of the disappearance of Madeleine McCann.
 
Mr Murat, 34, launched the libel action after dozens of stories implicated him in the disappearance of the four-year-old, who vanished last May from the Algarve resort of Praia da Luz.
 
Outside the High Court today, he said: "The newspapers in this case brought about the total and utter destruction of mine and my family's life and caused immense distress. I can now start to rebuild my life."
 
The Algarve-based property consultant was in court to hear his solicitor, Louis Charalambous, tell Mr Justice Eady that it was now acknowledged that the allegations against him were entirely untrue.
 
Mr Charalambous said the newspaper journalists and their editors had acted "with a reckless disregard for the truth".
 
Mr Murat's lawyers brought proceedings against Associated Newspapers, Express Newspapers, MGN Limited and News Group Newspapers over nearly 100 "seriously defamatory" articles.
 
As well as Mr Murat, Sergey Malinka, a Russian IT operative, and his girlfriend, Michaela Walczuch, accepted more £100,000 each in damages for allegations made against them in the British press.
 
Mr Charalambous said "Let’s not forget Mr Malinka's and Ms Walczuch's lives have also been devastated by the baseless, inaccurate media coverage that has proliferated about them through swathes of the British press over the last year.
 
"Today's public apology and the six figure sum in damages that each of these parties have also secured will go some way to compensating for the distress they have suffered and restoring their good names.
 
"It will bury the lies published about them which included made up allegations of sexual perversion and, in Mr Malinka's case, a criminal record."
 
Today Mr Murat said that he felt "vindicated" after the newspapers made a formal apology for the stories, which he described as "devastating".
 
Mr Murat was named a formal suspect, or 'arguido,' by Portuguese police during their investigation, but officers completed their inquiries at the start of this month without charging anyone.
 
He was questioned by police 11 days after Madeleine went missing on May 3, 2007. Police searched the villa near the McCann's holiday apartment where he lived with his mother after a journalist spoke to the British Embassy and the police about him. He said today that he would continue to live in the apartment.
 
Journalists met Mr Murat while dozens of members of the British media were in Praia da Luz after Madeleine's disappearance. He told them he had been helping police with translation work during the search.
 
Last month, Mr Murat said that his computers had been returned to him by the police, which he hoped would signal the end of his arguido status.
 

 
Robert Murat wins in Madeleine McCann court action, 18 July 2008
 
Robert Murat wins in Madeleine McCann court action Daily Mail
 
By DAILY MAIL REPORTER
Last updated at 12:54 AM on 18th July 2008
 
The Daily Mail and other newspapers yesterday apologised in court for the publication of false allegations about Robert Murat, Michaela Walczuch and Sergey Malinka, who we had wrongly suggested in a number of articles might have been involved in the abduction of Madeleine McCann and had told lies about their involvement.
 
We accepted in court that these allegations were untrue and that none of these individuals had any involvement in Madeleine's abduction.
 
In recognition of the distress caused, we have agreed to pay substantial damages to the claimants, plus their legal costs.

 

Murat's £800,000 - a minor marketing expense21 July 2008

 
Murat's £800,000 - a minor marketing expense Guardian
 
Peter Wilby
Monday July 21, 2008
 
The 2007 marketing budget for the Sun was estimated at £16m, that for the News of the World at £5m - and the figures are likely to be higher this year. The budget for the Daily Mail may be close to £20m. When you look at those figures, £72,727 seems like small change. But that is the figure you reach if you divide the collective damages of £800,000 paid to Robert Murat and two others falsely linked to the Madeleine McCann abduction, between the 11 offending newspapers, including the Sun, News of the World and the Mail. Legal fees will probably boost the cost to each paper well beyond £100,000 - but, if you regard smear stories as a circulation booster, you might reasonably treat the overall costs as a minor charge on the marketing budget.
 
Certainly, it is unlikely any editors will pay with their jobs. They and their journalists knew full well what they were doing but, for several reasons, clearly thought the risks worth running.
 
First, newspapers now live in an intensely competitive environment - TV, radio and the internet surround every story with comment and speculation and, as newspaper websites show (and still showed last week), the level of interest in the McCanns and everything connected with them was unprecedented. Yet facts about the case were sparse, partly because the Portuguese police do not brief journalists as assiduously as their British counterparts. Once flown out to Praia da Luz, reporters could hardly keep emailing their newsdesks declaring, like the BBC announcer of the 1920s, that "there is no news tonight".
 
Second, the press increasingly assumes that any suspect in a major crime case is fair game. I have written several times in this column about how newspapers push at the laws of contempt, publishing any gossip they can get, not only during police investigations (which is permissible) but also after arrest, and increasingly even after charge. Such coverage risks prejudicing a subsequent trial, yet the attorney general and the judges repeatedly fail to act, except in the most blatant cases. Equally important, the coverage potentially libels anyone who is subsequently released without charge or found innocent. That is particularly the case for Muslims questioned about terror "plots", where it is not even certain a crime has been committed.
 
Why do more victims of such coverage not sue? The answer is they are usually too poor to afford legal costs and too frightened to draw further attention to themselves. Moreover, libel laws, while notoriously putting the onus on publishers to prove the truth of allegations, also require litigants to show damage to their reputations or, better still, their livelihoods. The most expensive libel case that crossed my desk as an editor concerned a full-time author of popular romances who was falsely accused of plagiarism and whose ongoing publishing contract stated that she would be dropped if she was ever suspected of such a thing. Crime suspects, however, are rarely respectable pillars of society, which is partly why the police pick them up in the first place. They don't have much of a reputation to damage.
 
Murat, a British expatriate property consultant, and his two friends, an ex-business partner and an IT consultant, were different in several respects. They did not have criminal records. Murat was declared an arguido (a status for which there is no equivalent in English law and which is nearly, but not quite, conveyed by the word "suspect"), but he was never arrested because the police had no evidence against him. Indeed, he became an arguido only because a British redtop journalist expressed concerns about him. The libels, which included false allegations of paedophiliac tendencies and, in the Daily Express's case, comparisons to Ian Huntley, were as gross as can be imagined.
 
Murat's means were modest, but lawyers were willing to act for him on a "no win, no fee" basis. It is often argued that such conditional fees, introduced in 1998, put the poor on an equal footing with the rich. But lawyers accept these cases only when they are reasonably certain of victory. Even then, the pressure to settle out of court is strong. Conditional fee agreements do not include court costs, notably witnesses' expenses. If the case had been lost, Murat might have been liable for the newspapers' costs as well, though he probably took out insurance. All this helps explain why he didn't get - from 11 newspapers and nearly 100 separate stories - much more than half the £1m Elton John received more than 20 years ago for just one story in the Sun, and why the apologies to him and his friends could be buried on inside pages.
 
The Guardian columnist George Monbiot last week described Britain's libel laws as "a national disgrace" and argued that they are too heavily biased against defendants. He is right, where litigants are rich and powerful; and even more right, where defendants, such as small magazines or websites, lack the resources of the big press groups. If small publishers lose, they can be stung for enormous "success fees" from the litigants' lawyers, who may double their normal rates to cover the risks of coming away with nothing.
 
Conditional fee agreements are increasingly used by wealthy litigants, such as Naomi Campbell in her protracted case against the Mirror. As often happens, changes intended to benefit the less well-off have been eagerly exploited by the rich. For the poor and powerless, against whom the mass circulation press commits its most pernicious libels, the law still provides inadequate protection.

 
Murat wins libel pay-out from Sky, 14 November 2008
 
Murat wins libel pay-out from Sky BBC News
 
Page last updated at 13:24 GMT, Friday, 14 November 2008
 
Robert Murat has accepted substantial libel damages from British Sky Broadcasting over some of its reporting of Madeleine McCann's disappearance.
 
His case related to allegations he had acted in a manner similar to Soham killer Ian Huntley in the days after she vanished in Portugal in May 2007.
 
Mr Murat has always denied involvement and is no longer a suspect in the case.
 
Sky told London's High Court it apologised for publishing the false allegations and the distress caused.
 
The amount involved in the damages pay-out has not been disclosed.
 
Madeleine, of Rothley, Leicestershire, has not been seen since disappearing during a family holiday to Praia da Luz, in the Algarve.
 
She was days away from her fourth birthday.
 
Mr Murat's solicitor, Louis Charalambous, told Mr Justice Eady on Friday that his client's action resulted from an article and video on the Sky News website making allegations about his behaviour around the time Madeleine disappeared.
 
These claimed that in the early days afterwards, the behaviour of Mr Murat, who lives in Praia da Luz with his mother, had been reminiscent of child-killer Huntley.
 
The website also suggested Mr Murat had deliberately tried to mislead journalists by pretending to be acting in an official capacity for the police.
 
Mr Charalambous told the judge the allegations made by Sky were entirely untrue and it was accepted that Mr Murat had had no involvement whatever in the abduction of Madeleine.
 
He said: "[Sky] acknowledges that Mr Murat's actions after the abduction were entirely proper and were motivated by a desire to help find Madeleine McCann."
 
He said that Sky's apology would appear on its website for 12 months.
 
Outside court, Mr Charalambous said the settlement represented the final stage of Mr Murat's claims against those sections of the British media "which defamed him so terribly".
 
"He has been entirely successful and vindicated," he said.
 
"It was particularly important to him to nail this particular lie - that he acted in some way reminiscent to the Soham murderer Ian Huntley when, in fact, he was working flat out to help try to find Madeleine."
 
In July, Mr Murat received a record settlement of £600,000 and an apology over "seriously defamatory" allegations in nearly 100 newspaper articles concerning the case.
 
The out-of-court libel settlement was reached with the Sun, Daily Express, Sunday Express, Daily Star, Daily Mail, London Evening Standard, Metro, Daily Mirror, Sunday Mirror, News of the World and the Scotsman.
 
That same month his status as an official suspect in the case was lifted by Portuguese police as they shelved their investigation.
 
In March, Madeleine's parents Kate and Gerry McCann, who were also named as suspects but have also had their status lifted, won £550,000 and an apology from Express Newspapers for suggesting they had been involved in their daughter's disappearance.
 
And last month, seven friends who were dining with the McCanns when Madeleine disappeared received a £375,000 libel pay-out, also from Express Newspapers.
 
It related to untrue allegations about the conduct of the so-called "tapas seven" in three newspapers.

 
Murat Wins Damages From Sky News, 14 November 2008
 
Murat Wins Damages From Sky News Sky News
 
11:24am UK, Friday November 14, 2008
 
Robert Murat has today accepted undisclosed libel damages over an allegation that there were strong grounds for believing he was guilty of abducting Madeleine McCann.
 
Mr Murat was not at London's High Court for the settlement of his action against British Sky Broadcasting Ltd.
 
His solicitor told Mr Justice Eady that an article and video on the Sky News website claimed that in the early days after Madeleine's disappearance from Praia da Luz, Portugal, in May 2007, Mr Murat's behaviour was reminiscent of child murderer Ian Huntley.
 
The article, which was published until April this year, and the video, which was accessible until this September, also suggested that Mr Murat had deliberately tried to mislead journalists by pretending to be acting in an official capacity for the police.
 
Victoria Shore, counsel for BSkyB, which is also paying Mr Murat's costs, made an unreserved apology for publishing the false allegations, and the distress caused.
 
In July Mr Murat, 34, received a record settlement of £600,000 over "seriously defamatory" allegations in nearly 100 articles connecting him with the abduction.
 
He had sued Associated Newspapers, Express Newspapers, MGN Limited and News Group Newspapers.

 
Robert Murat - Apology, 14 November 2008
 
Robert Murat - Apology Sky News
 
1:17pm UK, Friday November 14, 2008
 
Between May 2007 and September 2008 we published on this website a video of, and an article about, an interview with Sunday Mirror journalist Lori Campbell.
 
The interview strongly suggested that Mr Murat was guilty of the abduction of Madeleine McCann.
 
It also suggested that Mr Murat had lied about his role in the police investigation.
 
These allegations were seriously defamatory of Mr Murat and untrue.
 
We accept that Mr Murat had no involvement in the abduction of Madeleine and we would like to apologise to Mr Murat for the hurt, distress and damage to his reputation our publications have caused.

Note: This apology from Sky News clearly implies that the offending article, an interview with Lori Campbell, was removed in September '08. However, that was not the case. At the time of this settlement, it was still freely available to view by simply typing the title of the article into the Sky News search box.

The offending Sky News video and article, which are reproduced here for reference purposes:

 
Lori Campbell talks to Ian Woods from Sky News, 14 May 2007
 

Transcript
 
Lori Campbell: I was so suspicious by the Monday that I just felt I had a duty to pass those suspicions on. I spoke to my news desk back in London and then they said they thought that that was the right thing to do.

Ian Woods: Now, let's discuss why we were a little suspicious of him, because your suspicions were aroused first of all and you shared those suspicions with me. I then talked to him, investigated it, tried to find out whether his story was true and I have to say I came back and said his story checked out. What first of all made you suspicious of the fact that he was spending so much time around the scene?

LC: It was just very reminiscent of the Soham murders was my first instinct. There was a local guy. He was hanging around the scene an awful lot. He was asking us questions about what was going on in the investigation, maybe trying to find out what we knew and he just seemed to be giving an air that he was authoritative and he was working in an official capacity for the police. And I was just very suspicious about that, that they would take on board a man who was just a local guy. They have many people, I am sure, who speak Portuguese and English. Why would they ask him to, you know, go into the apartment, speak to the family and have that sort of contact with them?

IW: Now, how co-operative was Robert when you were talking to him, because first of all he wouldn't do any interviews with me. I have asked him to do interviews on camera. He declined and you approached him to do a proper interview and asked his identity and things like that?

LC: Well, he was very vague when I tried to ask about his background. He would chat to me quite openly, but he wouldn't give me his surname. He wouldn't tell me really where he was from, where he lives over here. He wouldn't give me a telephone number for him. And then I asked him what he did for a living. He was very vague. He said he worked for real estate. And I just had a really uneasy feeling about him from day one.

IW: You reported him to who and what was the response?

LC: My first call was to Leicestershire police back in the UK and they took all my details. A detective constable called me back and she suggested that I also speak to somebody out here. We didn't really have a police contact last week. So, I called the British Embassy and they said to speak to a policeman on the scene. So, I walked up to a GNR policeman and said, you know, "I've got suspicions about a gentleman who's been near the scene and I'd just like to pass those on." And one of my main suspicions was that he said he was translating witness statements and I asked them if that could be true and they said, "No, that's highly unlikely."

 
Journalist Reported Man To The Police, 14 May 2007
 
Journalist Reported Man To The Police Sky News
 
10:21pm UK, Monday May 14, 2007
 
A British journalist became so suspicious of Robert Murat that she reported him to the police.
 
Lori Campbell of the Sunday Mirror told Sky News that his behaviour reminded her of Soham murderer Ian Huntley.
 
She said: "It was just very reminiscent of the Soham murders, that was my first thought.
 
"He was hanging around, asking us questions and maybe trying to find out what we knew."
 
She said that when she went to the Portuguese police to say there was a man she was suspicious about, they said "we know who you are talking about" before she mentioned his name.
 
Ms Campbell said: "Basically he surfaced on Friday afternoon last week and was walking around as if he was somebody official.
 
"He claimed that he was just a local guy who spoke fluent Portuguese and English and was helping the family.
 
"He was coming in and out of the family apartment speaking with the media and acting like he was somebody official. But when questioned about it, he was very vague about his position.
 
"He said he just volunteered to help the police with their investigation. He was in and out of their apartment throughout the week. He said he was just helping to translate witness statements.
 
"When I was talking to him he was very vague about his purpose. He said he was from the UK going through a divorce back there.
 
"Asked about what he did for a living, he said he was a property developer, real estate... He kept trying to emphasise parts of the investigation such as 'maybe she's gone to Spain, maybe it's too late'."
 
Ms Campbell said he told her that he had a three or four-year-old daughter.