Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Chess legend Bobby Fischer drops San Diego lawsuit against U.S.

"SAN DIEGO – Bobby Fischer has dropped a federal lawsuit against the U.S. government over what the former chess champion called his illegal nine-month detention in Japan.

The lawsuit was filed March 23, the same day Fischer was released from a Japanese detention center and took up residence in Iceland. The case was voluntarily dismissed Thursday in U.S. District Court in San Diego.

'He wants to get on with his life,' Richard J. Vattuone, the attorney who filed the lawsuit told The San Diego Union-Tribune in Tuesday's editions. 'He's not interested in any more lawsuits, so that matter is over, dismissed.'

Vattuone did not immediately return a message left seeking comment Tuesday.

The 62-year-old Fischer, claimed he was assaulted, battered and routinely held in solitary confinement at an immigration detention facility outside of Tokyo. Japanese authorities arrested Fischer in July for trying to leave the country using an invalid U.S. passport.

Fischer is wanted on charges of violating international sanctions against the former Yugoslavia by playing chess against Boris Spassky, the Russian he defeated to become world champion in 1972.

According to the lawsuit, Fischer said Edward McKeon, the minister counselor and consul general at the American embassy, 'directed the Japanese authorities to detain Fischer under harsh conditions, amounting to torture, until Fischer gave up his legal rights under international U.S. law, and complied with U.S. demands that Fischer agree to be deported.'

A federal grand jury in Washington is investigating possible criminal money-laundering charges involving Fischer. He was reported to have received $3.5 million from the 1992 chess match with Spassky in the former Yugoslavia and boasted at the time that he didn't intend to pay any income tax on the money.

Vattuone said he has been retained by the Bobby Fischer Committee, which is seeking to prevent Fischer's appearance in the United States for any future court proceedings."

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