eBay bans sales of topless Kate magazine

US Internet auction giant eBay is banning sales of copies of French magazine Closer that feature photos of Prince William's wife Catherine topless, the website said on Tuesday.

Enterprising eBay users have been selling last Friday's issue of Closer -- which has enraged the British royal family by printing pictures of Catherine sunbathing -- to buyers outside France for up to $45 (34 euros).

French authorities on Tuesday banned Closer from any further publication or resale of the pictures and launched a criminal investigation into how they were obtained.

eBay said it had decided to ban users from selling the magazine in response to feedback from its users.

"Following strong feedback from the eBay community, we will be removing these items, and are already in the process of doing so," a London-based spokeswoman for the company said.

The spokeswoman was not immediately able to confirm whether listings of Italian magazine Chi and the Irish Daily Star tabloid, which also published the grainy long-lens photos, would also be removed.

Several copies of Chi -- which, like Closer, is owned by the Mondadori Group of former Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi -- were up for sale on eBay on Tuesday with a top price of $42.95.

Bidders had offered up to $24.30 for a copy of the Irish Daily Star.

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