Marco Benatti, the sacked country manager of WPP Italia, has hit back at the wave of innuendo linking his departure from the agency with improper practices. Centered in his sights is WPP Group and - in particular - ceo Sir Martin Sorrell.

Not only is Benatti suing WPP for wrongful dismissal [WAMN: 14-Feb-06] , he claimed this weekend to have extended the action to include Sir Martin personally, hinting he might even formally charge Sorrell with criminal libel.

In a tersely-worded statement Benatti said his lawyers are seeking "a court verdict in order to find [Sorrell] guilty for continuously spreading unfounded accusations, seriously detrimental to Marco Benatti's image." Team Benatti is also "weighing the decision to take up legal proceedings, even criminal, for libel."

Earlier this month Benatti filed a lawsuit in London against WPP Italia and its UK parent, alleging unfair dismissal and damage to his professional reputation resulting from media reports about the termination of his employment.

Earlier this month Sorrell told the BBC radio programme Weekend Business: "We are suing him [Benatti]. Expect a lot of counter litigation in this process." Benatti duly obliged.

To which WPP issued its [by now] familiar response: "The facts will speak for themselves."

Data sourced from AdWeek (USA); additional content by WARC staff