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Wednesday, 12 February, 2003, 17:53 GMT
Hello!'s Marquesa admits photos lie
Catherine Zeta Jones and Michael Douglas
Zeta Jones and Douglas say their privacy was invaded
One of Hello! magazine's key contributors has admitted she lied to a court over the exclusive rights to photos of Catherine Zeta Jones and Michael Douglas' wedding.

The Marquesa De Varela, who helps arrange high-profile interviews for Hello!, told London's High Court she had been asked to sign statements which wrongly said she had sold the couple's photo rights to the magazine.

If I refused to help Hello! then I was sure that the relationship would be put in jeopardy

Marquesa De Varela
Rival magazine OK!, which paid 1m for exclusive pictures from the wedding, is suing Hello! for for 1.75m. Zeta Jones and Douglas are suing Hello! for 500,000.

'Under instruction'

The Marquesa told the court on Wednesday she was acting under instruction from Hello!'s owner when she signed the documents.

The papers were then used at a Court of Appeal hearing in November 2000 to lift a ban on Hello! publishing the wedding photos, the court heard.

"I was still very concerned as to what I should do because my whole income depended on my relationship with Hello! and Eduardo (Sanchez-Junco, Hello!'s owner)," she said.

Catherine Zeta Jones and Michael Douglas leave the High Court
The couple gave evidence at the hearing on Monday
"If I refused to help them then I was sure that the relationship would be put in jeopardy and my income would disappear."

OK! and Hello! were involved in a bidding war to secure the rights to the couple's official wedding pictures.

OK! went to the High Court in November 2000 to get an injunction against the distribution of an issue of Hello! containing unofficial photos.

The injunction was later lifted by the Court of Appeal after seeing the signed statement from the Marquesa.

She is famed for her contacts with celebrities, royalty and the aristocracy around the world and has said that the success of Hello! was "largely due to her efforts in securing the big cover features".

The Marquesa, who lives in Uruguary but who has offices in London, told the court that when Hello! failed to win the rights she had advised the magazine's owner to seek paparazzi pictures instead.

Arrangements

She said she contacted photographer Phil Ramey, the man who arranged for the unauthorised pictures and is now another defendant in the action, on behalf of Hello!.

Arrangements with the photographer were broken off after the photographer requested and failed to get a $10,000 advance.

"He [Sanchez-Juncoalso] said he did not want to be a responsible party for sending or organising anyone to attempt to acquire these photographs," said the Marquesa.

She added the owner had asked her to tell the paparazzi to send any photographs they did acquire to Hello!'s London picture editor.

After she told Ramay that the advance was turned down she did not speak to him again, she said.

The first time she saw the paparazzi pictures was in a copy of Hello!, she said.

The case was adjourned until Thursday.


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