Google reaches settlement with businessman who sued to have online abuse removed

LONDON – Google has agreed to a settlement with a former Morgan Stanley banker who sued the search engine over defamatory Internet posts.

Daniel Hegglin, a Hong Kong-based investor, went to Britain’s High Court to force Google to ensure posts falsely labeling him a murderer, pedophile and Nazi didn’t appear in search results.

Hegglin’s lawyer, Hugh Tomlinson, said Monday that the case had been settled. He didn’t disclose details, but said the settlement “includes significant efforts on Google’s part to remove the abusive material” from search results and Google-hosted websites.

Google lawyer Antony White said the company was sympathetic to Hegglin, who had received an “exceptional” amount of Internet abuse.

He said Google wasn’t responsible for policing the Web, but would “continue to apply its procedures that have been developed to assist with the removal of content which breaches applicable local laws.”

Hegglin’s case is separate from the European Court of Justice’s “right to be forgotten” ruling, which allows people in 32 European countries to ask Google to delete material that unfairly tarnishes their reputation.

Google said last month it had received 145,000 requests to remove search results since the court ruling in May.