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Last Updated: Thursday, 4 May 2006, 15:38 GMT 16:38 UK
Authors face Da Vinci cash demand
Copies of the books at the centre of the case
The authors' copyright claim was rejected in April
Two authors who lost a copyright battle against best-selling novel The Da Vinci Code have been ordered to disclose their financial details to the court.

Michael Baigent and Richard Leigh, who sued publishers Random House, were ordered to pay 85% of the company's legal bill, estimated at 1.3m.

Their first instalment of 350,000 had been due on Friday.

But they have applied for more time to pay. Mr Justice Peter Smith adjourned the application until next week.

The pair also face a large bill from their own lawyers.

If they cannot pay, they can be made bankrupt
Mr Justice Peter Smith
They unsuccessfully claimed Dan Brown's hit book copied ideas from their 1982 book The Holy Blood and The Holy Grail - both published by Random House.

Both books explored the theme that Jesus and Mary Magdalene married, had a child and the bloodline survives until the present day.

Guy Tritton, representing the authors at the High Court in London, told the judge Random House was "unfairly" withholding royalties owed to the pair from their book.

But Mr Justice Smith ordered Mr Baigent and Mr Leigh to provide details of their income, assets and liabilities.

He said they "want money to spend without making any attempt to pay off their liabilities".

Mr Baigent is not a well man and he is reliant upon royalties
Guy Tritton
"Your clients have a liability to pay costs following a very expensive piece of litigation. If they cannot pay, they can be made bankrupt."

Mr Tritton said: "Mr Baigent is not a well man and he is reliant upon royalties in order to live."

The judge ordered Mr Baigent to provide a witness statement giving a full account of his assets, income and liabilities.

He must also hand over a copy of documents involving the transfer of his home into his wife's name and subsequent dual ownership.

Mr Justice Smith said he also wanted to see "full details" of the royalties from Mr Baigent's new book, The Jesus Papers, as well as details of any assets the author had disposed of since last June.

Mr Leigh was asked to provide similar details about his assets, income and liabilities.




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