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Monday, 4 March, 2002, 15:33 GMT
Holocaust denier bankrupt
David Irving
David Irving faces an estimated 2m legal bill
Right-wing historian David Irving has been declared bankrupt at the High Court in the wake of his unsuccessful libel action over claims he was a Holocaust denier.

The ruling was made against Mr Irving after he failed to make an interim payment of 150,000 to Penguin Books.

The publisher and American academic Deborah Lipstadt are thought to have amassed costs of 2m in the three-month action brought against them by Mr Irving in 2000.

He said Ms Lipstadt's book Denying the Holocaust: The Growing Assault on Truth and Memory had destroyed his livelihood and generated waves of hatred against him.

But at the end of the libel trial the judge, Mr Justice Gray, ruled that Ms Lipstadt was justified in what she had written and that Mr Irving was anti-Semitic, a racist and an "active" Holocaust denier.

'Patient'

Although Penguin is sceptical about its chances of receiving any money from the author it said it has a duty to shareholders to pursue the matter.

Deborah Lipstadt
Deborah Lipstadt called Mr Irving "dangerous"
It wanted Mr Irving declared bankrupt at the hearing in London on Monday so that creditors can make claims against his assets.

Following Monday's ruling Mark Bateman of Penguin's solicitors Davenport Lyons said: "Our client has been very patient but Irving was clearly not going to meet the interim payment which is a fraction of their total costs.

"The costs consequences of his failing with his libel action have long been clear."

'Distorted history'

Mr Irving, who lives in Mayfair, central London, has argued that he has already put forward a reasonable offer to Penguin.

Ms Lipstadt's book described him as a "Hitler partisan" who had distorted history and was "one of the most dangerous spokespersons for Holocaust denial."

Mr Irving had expressed doubts about whether there had been mass gassing at the Auschwitz concentration camp.

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