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Last Updated: Friday, 25 June, 2004, 14:10 GMT 15:10 UK
Maccaba loses sex slander action
Brian Maccaba (centre) leaves the High Court
Mr Maccaba denied offering $1m for his friend's wife
A multi-millionaire who sued a senior rabbi for slander over alleged sexual slurs against him has lost his case.

Brian Maccaba, 45, of Hendon, north London, accused the rabbi of spreading "poisonous" claims he was a "sexual predator" and "serial adulterer".

Dayan Yaakov Lichtenstein, 49, of Cricklewood, denied slandering Mr Maccaba in the orthodox community.

After nearly 32 hours of deliberations, the London High Court jury returned 10-1 verdicts against Mr Maccaba.

'Indecent Proposal'

The defence had claimed that Dublin-born Mr Maccaba, who converted to Judaism in 1990, had offered family friend Alain Attar $1million (550,000) for his wife Nathalie and twice sexually harassed her.

It's a victory for the Torah, the truth and morality
Rabbi Lichtenstein

The chief executive officer and founder of technology company Cognotec denied the claims.

He will now have to pay over 2 million in costs.

The case, which lasted for 41 days spread over two months, was the longest-running slander action in English legal history.

'Jewish community'

Mr Maccaba said in a statement later: "I brought this case only after trying so very hard to have my complaints against Dayan Lichtenstein heard within the Jewish community.

He added: "I am consulting with my legal team with regard to an appeal and in the meantime I can get back to my business and my wonderful family."

During the proceedings, Mr Maccaba accused Rabbi Lichtenstein of waging a "campaign of slander" against him.

Mr Maccaba had said he and Nathalie Attar had had a "close emotional attachment", which was "reciprocal", from June 1998 until August 1999, but it was at all times "not a physical relationship".

He had told the jury when giving evidence that he was "never sexually attracted to Nathalie Attar".

He described the allegation of the offer to Mr Attar for Nathalie -- which led to the case being dubbed the "Indecent Proposal" case after the plot of a film of the same name -- as "ridiculous".

The film tells the story of a wealthy bachelor who offers a poor, newly-married couple $1m if he can spend one night with the wife.

Mrs Attar, 35, who gave evidence when she was seven months pregnant with her fourth child, claimed he had tried to destabilise her marriage and that he twice sexually harassed her.

She denied that she had been in love with Mr Maccaba and said her husband and children were everything to her.

'Horrible nightmare'

Outside court, Rabbi Lichtenstein said: "First of all, I want to thank God almighty for today's victory.

"It's a victory for the Torah, the truth and morality.

"It is also a victory for clergy worldwide."

He thanked "the thousands of Jews worldwide" who had prayed for him and the many friends who who had supported him throughout this "horrible nightmare".

The jury heard that in May 2001 a religious court, the Kedassia Beth Din, found the allegations relating to the sexual misconduct and the offer "not proven".



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