Google Inc said on Monday it had reached a settlement with a British businessman over defamatory postings in its search results describing him as a pedophile, a murderer and a money-launderer.
Former Morgan Stanley banker Daniel Hegglin, who said he was subjected to years of defamation by unknown users, had sued the Internet giant to have it block links to the abusive material that appeared on several thousand websites.
Google had asked him to provide a list of web links to be removed. Calling that an incomplete solution, Hegglin asked the High Court of Justice in England and Wales to order Google to ensure the material did not appear in its search results.
The case was due to start this week, but the court was told on Monday that the two sides had reached a settlement, details of which were not released.
“We have reached a mutually acceptable agreement,” a Google spokeswoman later said in a statement, without elaborating.
No response was immediately available from Hegglin, who now lives in Hong Kong. His legal team in London declined to comment.
The BBC quoted Hegglin's barrister Hugh Tomlinson as telling the court: “The settlement includes significant efforts on Google's part to remove the abusive material from Google-hosted websites and from its search results.”
The case was separate from the so-called “right to be forgotten” ruling, under which search engines must remove outdated information on EU citizens if requested.
Since that ruling by a top European court in May, Google has received over 160,000 removal requests from across Europe affecting over half a million sites, according to its online transparency report.