LONDON: Senior business people attach great value to the loyalty of their personal assistants. None more so than Marco Benatti, co-defendant with colleague Marco Tinelli in the Martin Sorrell (left) libel action current packing 'em in at London's High Court.
Benatti's PA Silvia Arbasino (33), told the court Thursday that her boss was an "inspirational and kind person", a "gentleman" incapable of mounting the crude email and blog campaign against the WPP Group chief executive, of which he stands accused.
Arbasino also said that Sorrell (62) had always been very kind to her and she bore him no ill-will. She added that his relationship with WPP Italia's chief operating officer Daniela Weber was "well known".
As to Benatti: "It is true he felt badly treated by WPP, Sir Martin Sorrell and Daniela Weber, but this is never the way I would expect a person like Marco Benatti to retaliate."
She had felt "some amusement and some shock" when she translated a March 2006 blog attacking Sorrell and referring to him as 'Don Martino'. It also referred in "quite some detail" to Benatti's alleged sexual relationship with Weber.
"I remember clicking on the link entitled 'Poison Dwarf' which led me to another website criticising Martin. It struck me that he had many enemies and critics.
"Marco was embarrassed and we tried to laugh it off. However, it was clear to me that he was also deeply hurt by these incorrect allegations.
"Given his close brotherly relationship with Daniela over the years, it was not very nice for him or Daniela to be linked in this way.
"The allegations made in the blog about Daniela Weber cheating on 'Don Martino' with 'the Italian partner' were absolutely false.
"Having worked with both Marco Benatti and Daniela Weber for many years, and having known them both very well almost every day, I can categorically say that to the very best of my knowledge they never had any sort of sexual relationship.
"Neither of them has ever suggested that there has been any such relationship, in fact they have both positively denied it."
The hearing resumes Monday.
Data sourced from BrandRepublic (UK); additional content by WARC staff