Ryanair to pay libel damages to the founder of rival carrier easyJet

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LONDON – Irish budget airline Ryanair has agreed to pay libel damages of 50,100 pounds ($64,200) to the founder of rival carrier easyJet after running advertisements picturing him with a long Pinocchio nose.

The settlement was announced in court Thursday.

Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou sued Ryanair because of ads which accused him of suppressing weekly reports on easyJet’s on-time performance. One ad, which showed Stelios with a long nose, called on him to “stop hiding the truth.”

Stelios was no longer in management at easyJet, but was a non-executive director and major shareholder.

When Stelios protested, Ryanair ran more ads proposing to settle the issue by a sumo wrestling match or a footrace.