Page last updated at 21:36 GMT, Friday, 27 June 2008 22:36 UK

Huge US payout over anthrax case

Dr Steven Hatfill. File photo
Dr Hatfill has always denied any involvement in the attacks

The US justice department has agreed a multimillion-dollar settlement with a man it said was a "person of interest" in the US anthrax attacks in 2001.

Dr Steven Hatfill, a former US army scientist, sued the department, saying it violated his privacy rights by speaking to reporters about the case.

Court papers now say a deal has been reached and the case will be dismissed.

Five people were killed by anthrax mailed to lawmakers and media outlets in New York, Washington and Florida.

Hazardous materials workers outside Capitol Hill in Washington DC during the anthrax attacks in 2001
Eighteen people were infected by the anthrax-laced letters

According to the settlement documents filed on Friday, the justice department will pay Dr Hatfill $2.8m (1.4m) upfront.

It will also buy Dr Hatfill a $3m (1.5m) annuity that will pay him $150,000 (75,000) each year for 20 years.

"The United States does not admit to any violation of the Privacy Act and continues to deny all liability in connection with Dr Hatfill's claims," Justice Department spokesman Brian Roehrkasse was quoted as saying by the Associated Press news agency.

Dr Hatfill has denied any involvement in the attacks.

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