Germany’s Axel Springer settles dispute with fired former Bild editor

BERLIN (Reuters) – German publishing magnate Axel Springer has agreed to an out-of-court settlement in a civil lawsuit against Julian Reichelt, the former editor-in-chief of Germany’s top-selling Bild tabloid, the company said on Tuesday.

Axel Springer has been in dispute with the right-wing media figure since October 2021, when the paper fired Reichelt over affairs he had with female staff members.

Reichelt has admitted to affairs but denied that his relations with female staff involved any wrong-doing.

An internal compliance committee initially cleared him of abuse of power but Axel Springer, which bought Politico in August 2021, came under renewed pressure to address the scandal after U.S. media began reporting on it.

Tuesday’s deal settles a separate civil lawsuit centred on allegations from Axel Springer that Reichelt violated the terms of his severance package with the publisher, which sought repayment of 2 million euros ($2.18 million) plus damages.

In the suit, Axel Springer management had accused Reichelt of passing on internal company information to the Berliner Zeitung.

Reichelt regrets passing on information to the publisher of the newspaper, a statement from Axel Springer said.

A lawyer representing Reichelt confirmed the statement without commenting further. No financial details of the agreement were disclosed.

Reichelt faces a separate criminal case brought by Axel Springer for alleged fraud.

($1 = 0.9186 euros)

(Reporting by Klaus Lauer; writing by Rachel More; editing by Barbara Lewis)