Entertainment

Riverdance star wins $11M settlement in false rape claim

Michael Flatley, who launched the popular Irish dance extravaganza Riverdance, has been awarded $11 million US against a woman who claimed he raped her.

Michael Flatley, who launched the popular Irish dance extravaganza Riverdance, has been awarded $11 million US against a woman who claimed he raped her.

He was offered the settlement Friday in light ofa California Supreme Court decision thatf ound the accusations false and part of an extortion scheme.

The 49-year-old dancer says he was "very pleased" with the judgment against Tyna Marie Robertson.

"Ms. Robertson tried to extort money from me by spreading these lies," the former Riverdance star said.

Robertson had accused the choreographer of assaulting her in a Las Vegas hotel after she went to visit him there in 2002.

She then threatened to file a sexual assault lawsuit unless Flatley put up some cash, reported to be $30 million US.When he refused, insisting the sex was consensual, Robertson brought a $33-million US claim against him in 2006.

That led Flatley to countersue for $100 million for extortion and defamation. According to court documents, Robertson had a "relaxed and happy breakfast with [Flatley]" after their night together.

Flatley's Riverdance, created in 1994, travelled the world. He would go on to spawn other Celtic shows, Lord of the Dance and Feet of Flames.

Last December, Flatley was fighting for his life after being struck by a mysterious viral infection.He was hospitalized and eventually regained his health.

In November, Flatley appeared on TV's Dancing With the Stars.

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