Coleridge sorry

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Condé Nast managing director Nicholas Coleridge has apologised to Hachette Filipacchi UK and agreed to pay an undisclosed sum after he claimed in the Evening Standard that Saddam Hussein had profited from a stake in Hachette’s fashion glossy Elle.

The Standard has already apologised for publishing allegations.

In a statement, Kevin Hand, chairman of Hachette, said: “We welcome Mr Coleridge’s apology and the assurance that he will not repeat the libel that Saddam Hussein profited from a financial stake in Elle and his agreement to pay damages.”

Hachette has said it will ensure the damages go to an Iraqi children’s charity because it felt it appropriate that the people who suffered at Saddam’s hands should be the beneficiaries.

It has been reported the former Iraqi regime did have a 2 per cent stake in Lagardere, a division of Hachette, but it was frozen along with other Iraqi government assets during the first Gulf War.

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