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Tuesday, 21 May, 2002, 07:09 GMT 08:09 UK
Penthouse settles Kournikova lawsuit
Judith Soltesz-Benetton (L) and Anna Kournikova (R)
Soltesz-Benetton (left) was billed as Kournikova
The US soft-porn magazine, Penthouse, has settled a legal action after printing photographs of a naked woman it mistakenly identified as the Russian tennis player, Anna Kournikova.


We made a terrible, but wholly unintentional error... and are taking steps to ensure that no such errors are made in the future

Bob Guccione
Penthouse publisher
The magazine will pay undisclosed damages to a former model, Judith Soltesz-Benetton, who said the photographs actually showed her, sunbathing topless in Miami seven years ago.

Penthouse is still facing another legal action brought by Anna Kournikova herself, which some commentators have suggested could bankrupt the financially-troubled magazine.

The magazine's publishers said they had made a "terrible, but wholly unintentional error" in printing the pictures.

Ms Soltesz-Benetton had sought $10m in damages, and dissatisfied with an apology made by Penthouse two weeks ago because it seemed insincere and did not identify her.

Her lawyer had accused the magazine of indulging in "crocodile tears", saying the apology was "about three weeks late and $10m short ".

Ms Soltesz-Benetton is the wife of clothing company heir Rocco Benetton.

Video tape

Penthouse obtained the pictures from a video-tape which it bought from an St Louis jewellery salesman who had filmed sunbathers without their knowledge.

Anna Kournikova
Kournikova is still not happy and is pursuing her own legal action
The pictures were printed in the current June 2002 edition of the magazine under the cover headline: "Exclusive Anna Kournikova Caught Close Up on Nude Beach."

Publisher Bob Guccione said he had compared the pictures with images of Kournikova on the internet, but a judge last week expressed scepticism that the two women looked similar.

Mr Guccione said Penthouse would destroy the 18,000 copies of the magazine it was still holding, and pulp any copies returned by retailers.

But as the print-run of the June issue was 1.2 million, there are still likely to be a large number in circulation.

Kournikova's own popularity has been boosted by a poll in the June issue of the French magazine FHM, which names her the sexiest woman in the planet.

The poll is based on poll of 200,000 conducted via the internet.

See also:

08 May 02 | Americas
08 Apr 02 | Business
12 Apr 02 | Newsmakers
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