Page last updated at 15:24 GMT, Monday, 7 July 2008 16:24 UK

Mosley denies 'Nazi-themed orgy'

Max Mosley
Max Mosley is the son of 1930s Fascist leader Sir Oswald Mosley

Motorsport boss Max Mosley has said there "was not even a hint" of Nazi-inspired behaviour in a sexual encounter he had with five prostitutes.

He is suing the News of the World for invasion of privacy after it used photos it said showed him in a "Nazi-themed orgy".

But Mr Mosley, 68, told the High Court: "I can think of few things more unerotic than Nazi role-play."

Earlier, his barrister said the paper had acted like a "Peeping Tom".

James Price QC said his client admitted using prostitutes, but the paper had committed a "gross and indefensible intrusion".

Mr Mosley alleges invasion of privacy by the News of the World, its editor-in-chief and other staff, and is also suing News Group Newspapers, which owns the paper.

He is also making a claim, unprecedented in a privacy case, for punitive, as well as compensatory, damages.

Mr Mosley said the publicity had been "totally devastating" for his wife of 48 years, and he could think of "nothing more undignified or humiliating" for his two sons to experience.

His barrister added: "This should not happen again and newspapers need to be taught that disregard of the rights of others does not pay."

If if it had been about Bernie Ecclestone, it would not have been a 'sick Nazi orgy'
James Price QC
Representing Max Mosley

The News of the World, which also posted video of the encounter on its website, argues publication was justified in the public interest.

Mark Warby QC, representing the paper, said: "The activities that went on here are not deserving of respect, however much they might have been kept behind closed doors."

'Basic human taboo'

Mr Mosley is president of the FIA, the governing body for Formula 1 racing, and the son of the 1930s Fascist leader Sir Oswald Mosley.

He was alleged by the newspaper to have played the roles of a concentration camp guard and an inmate during the sexual encounter at a flat he rented in Chelsea, west London.

But Mr Mosley said it was a German prison scenario, with suitable uniforms, but there was no Nazi aspect.

"There was not even a hint of that - certainly not in my mind and, I'm convinced, not in the minds of any of the other participants.

"All my life, I have had hanging over me my antecedents, my parents, and the last thing I want to do in some sexual context is be reminded of it."

Mr Mosley said his sex life had nothing to do with his professional role.

Most people probably think S and M behaviour is harmless and private and even funny
Mr Price

"If I was caught drink-driving, or grossly speeding, I think that would be, but things of the nature discussed are, I think, completely out of the scope of my work and have no connection to it whatsoever."

Cross-examined by Mr Warby, Mr Mosley said he had paid the five women 2,500 for the encounter, which he called a "party", rather than an orgy.

But asked if he had done anything wrong, he said: "Absolutely not. I fundamentally disagree with the suggestion that any of this is depraved, fundamentally disagree with the fact that it is immoral.

"I think it is a perfectly harmless activity provided it is between consenting adults who want to do it, are of sound mind, and it is in private."

Mr Mosley said he had been having similar encounters involving "corporal punishment" for 45 years.

'Sins of the father'

Mr Price said that to spy on a person's sex life was "disgusting" and "violates a basic human taboo".

"The role of the News of the World as Peeping Tom publishing for the amusement of the millions sits uncomfortably with its self-appointed role as arbitrator of the nation's morals," he said.

"It would be funny if it were not so terribly harmful to the News of the World's victims."

Given the nature and circumstances of the activities in this case there is no reasonable expectation of privacy
Mark Warby QC
Representing the News of the World

Mr Price said the trial was "not a forum to debate the evils or otherwise of Sir Oswald Mosley" - the founder of the British Union of Fascists - but argued that "the sins of the father cannot justly be visited on Mr Mosley".

It is Mr Mosley's case that before the story was published, he was not well known to the public and that it was, therefore, his name alone that had prompted the article.

"If if it had been about Bernie Ecclestone, it would not have been a 'sick Nazi orgy'," Mr Price said.

He said his client had been interested in sadomasochistic sex - or "S&M" - since "quite a young age".

"Most people probably think S&M behaviour - spanking, bondage, whipping, role-play like doctors and nurses, sheikhs and harems, guards and prisoners - is harmless and private and even funny," he said.

But Mr Warby said "whipping or beating someone until he bleeds is a criminal offence" and "the fact that a person agrees to it, and indeed encourages it and brings it about, is no defence".

"Given the nature and circumstances of the activities in this case there is no reasonable expectation of privacy in relation to the information which is the subject of the claim," he added.

Mr Mosley has been FIA president since 1993 and his latest four-year term does not expire until October 2009.

The case continues.

Mosley scandal 'has disgraced F1'
19 Apr 08 |  Formula One
Defiant Mosley takes on critics
05 Apr 08 |  Formula One
Pressure mounts on Mosley to quit
04 Apr 08 |  Formula One

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