Dancer Michael Flatley has been awarded $11 million (£5.4 million) against a woman who falsely claimed he raped her in 2002.

The Riverdance star was offered the settlement after convincing the California Supreme Court Tyna Marie Robertson's accusations were false and part of an attempt to extort millions of dollars from him.

"I am very pleased with the judgment awarded to me," he said. "Ms Robertson tried to extort money from me by spreading these lies and the court sent a message that it will not tolerate these types of schemes."

Robertson, a real estate agent, had alleged the dancer had raped her in a Las Vegas hotel after she had flown to visit him in 2002.

And according to court papers, her attorney Dean Mauro had threatened to file a sexual assault lawsuit against Flatley unless he agreed to a "seven figures" settlement.

The Irish dance star refused to pay and after Police declined to become involved as Robertson had not pressed charges, she filed a $33 million (£16.2 million) sexual assault claim against him last year.

The civil action was dismissed and Flatley lodged a $100 million (£49.3 million) counter-suit for extortion and defamation.

Flatley returned to live performance last month on Dancing With The Stars, the US version of Strictly Come Dancing, after battling a viral infection that saw him admitted to hospital.

08/12/2007 18:26:04