Sunday Times April 16, 2000 http://www.sunday-times.co.uk/news/pages/sti/2000/04/16/stinwenws03009.html?1007000 Hunt for Irving's backers as lawyers seek #2m costs Nick Fielding SUPPORTERS of the racist historian David Irving are to be pursued for payment of #2m in costs incurred in his libel action which failed last week. Although Irving appears to have little money, defence lawyers say they will not let the matter go. "Irving will be pursued for every penny of the costs, and if we don't get the money from him we will go to the judge and ask him to order Irving to divulge the names of his financial backers," said Mike Whine, a spokesman for the Board of Deputies of British Jews and a member of the defence team in the action. Irving sued Deborah Lipstadt, an American academic, and her publisher, Penguin Books, for libel, claiming she had accused him of denying the existence of the Holocaust. He lost the case and was described by the judge as a racist who falsified history to exonerate Hitler of involvement in the mass murder of Jews. Facing humiliation, Irving said he received backing from about 4,000 supporters, including 2,000 in the United States, 900 in Britain and 1,200 in other parts of the world. He has said that donations to his "fighting fund" have ranged from #1 to #50,000, reaching a total of #340,000. These donors will now be chased for payment of costs by Mishcon de Reya, the lawyers who acted for Lipstadt and Penguin, on the grounds that they helped to sustain the case. A similar move was made earlier this year when defence lawyers in a failed libel case brought by Neil Hamilton, the former MP, decided to pursue his backers for costs. Irving has few funds to meet the bill. His income appears to have declined in recent years and he has a history of financial difficulties. He has faced at least three bankruptcy hearings on petitions brought by former solicitors whom he had failed to pay, although each time he then managed to produce funds at the last minute. His prime asset is a flat in Duke Street, central London, but it is heavily mortgaged to the Bradford & Bingley building society. It has also been beset with claims including a caution in favour of Rowohlt, the German publisher, and a petition for bankruptcy from a firm of London solicitors. There have been at least six other charges on the property, mostly resulting from disputes over legal fees during the past eight years. Nor has he always managed to maintain his mortgage payments. In 1998 his arrears on the property were over #65,000 after he had not paid his monthly mortgage for two years. Irving also has a number of county court judgments against him, mostly for small amounts. Although discredited, Irving may hope to earn some money from lecture tours, but even his "fighting fund" support is patchy. In Germany and the United States - where he has an account at a bank in Florida - his funds have received only modest donations on a regular basis and are both effectively inactive. His main source of income continues to be from his books, which still sell reasonably well in American and produce a monthly income in the region of $10,000. When in America, where he has spent a great deal of time, Irving often stays in Key West, Florida, in a house owned by Sam G Dickson. There were calls to exclude Dickson from Britain in 1992 when he was due to speak at a conference organised by Irving and others. Dickson supports an organisation called American Renaissance, whose website carries advertisements for the American Friends of the British National party. According to Irving's website, the historian is likely to resist any move to unmask his supporters. "They know what is at stake and they have wholeheartedly supported him," it stated last week. "He has no intention of revealing their names and identities." If he cannot meet the costs himself and refuses to divulge the names of his backers, it is possible that he could face jail. In another financial dispute in 1994 he refused to disclose details of his assets and spent a short spell in Pentonville prison for his trouble. == Sunday 16 April 2000 Electronic Telegraph Irving faces arrest over widow's $10,000 By Chris Hastings and Jessica Berry DAVID IRVING, the disgraced historian, is being pursued by a US court over allegations that he failed to pay back several thousand pounds to the widow of one of his supporters. The Telegraph can reveal that the court has given police the power to detain him in America in connection with unpaid debts to the family of Max Kerstan, a former German soldier who financially supported the historian's work. Irma Kerstan sued Irving after he refused to repay more than $10,000 (=A36,300) lent to him by her late husband. The 78-year-old former Wehrmacht corporal handed over the money in 1997 to help Irving to publish and reprint four of his controversial books. A copy of the loan agreement obtained by The Telegraph stipulates that the money should be repaid over a four-month period at a rate of interest of 15 per cent. But shortly after Mr Kerstan's death in 1997, the historian claimed that he and Mr Kerstan had reached an oral agreement that the money should be treated as a donation rather than a loan. He also claimed that Mr Kerstan had altered his will to leave the majority of his estate - worth almost $2 million- to him rather than to the soldier's children. Both claims were strongly rejected by Mrs Kerstan and her family who went to court. Irving, who attended proceedings instituted by Mrs Kerstan at Santo Manteo county court in California in 1998, claimed that Mr Kerstan had intended to cancel the debt and alter the will because his family did not share his controversial beliefs on Holocaust denial. Despite losing the case Irving has so far failed to repay any of the money. He has also failed to attend a debtors' court which was held shortly after the original judgment was made. As a result of his absence he was found to be in contempt of court and a warrant was issued for his arrest. Jenifer Gardella, a lawyer acting for Mrs Kerstan, said: "The court has issued a warrant for Irving's arrest in connection with the unpaid money." Irving described Mr Kerstan as a friend and supporter but said he was unaware of the warrant. He added: "A number of witnesses will testify that Mr Kerstan wanted to leave me a substantial part of his estate. He did make alterations to his will, the problem was he didn't sign them. If I had won the money I would have shared some of it with the family." The court action in the United States could not have come at a worse time for Irving, who hopes that an army of extremist supporters there will help him to meet the crippling costs of his failed libel action against Deborah Lipstadt, the author who described him as a Holocaust denier. Last week a High Court judge in London upheld Lipstadt's description and went on to describe Irving as an "active Holocaust denier" and an "anti-Semitic racist . . . who associates with Right-wing extremists who promote neo-Nazism". Steven Spielberg, the Oscar-winning director of the Holocaust film Schindler's List, has emerged as a leading figure in the downfall of Irving. It has been revealed that his Shoah Foundation, set up to raise awareness of Hitler's Final Solution, donated a sum of money to the Lipstadt defence fund. Irving, 62, who sued Lipstadt and Penguin Books, must now pay costs of almost #3.2 million.
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