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Barrick Gold Corp. said Friday it has won an apology and an undisclosed payment in a libel case over accusations from a U.S. company that Barrick conspired to manipulate the gold market.

"We regret having made the statements that gave rise to the libel action filed by Barrick in Canada and any embarrassment those statements may have caused Barrick or its officers or directors," New Orleans-based Blanchard & Co. said in a press release issued by Barrick (TSX:ABX).

On Dec. 18, 2002, Blanchard, the largest retail dealer of gold coins and bullion in the United States, filed an anti-trust lawsuit against Barrick and investment bank J.P. Morgan Chase accusing the companies of conspiring to illegally manipulate the gold market.

The lawsuit was filed by Blanchard on behalf of its clients who bought gold bullion.

Blanchard's suit alleged that Barrick and J.P. Morgan injected millions of additional ounces of gold into the market so that the companies made $2-billion US in short-selling profits "by suppressing the price of gold at the expense of individual investors."

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On March 5, 2003, Barrick filed a libel notice against Blanchard. Barrick said at the time that Blanchard had made comments that were "totally irresponsible and defamatory."

Barrick said Friday that the original accusations of market manipulation have been dropped and all litigation between the companies has been dismissed.

Barrick shares dipped 10 cents, closing at $31.70 on the TSX.