U.S. billionaire wins damages from British paper

LONDON Wed Mar 19, 2008 2:23pm EDT

Sheldon Adelson, Chairman of the Board and CEO Las Vegas Sands Corp., speaks during a news conference at the Venetian in Macau August 28, 2007. REUTERS/Paul Yeung

Sheldon Adelson, Chairman of the Board and CEO Las Vegas Sands Corp., speaks during a news conference at the Venetian in Macau August 28, 2007.

Credit: Reuters/Paul Yeung

LONDON (Reuters) - American casino billionaire Sheldon Adelson won damages in London's High Court Wednesday after a newspaper accused him of "cut-throat, ruthless and despicable" business practices.

His lawyers said the settlement was one of Britain's most expensive libel actions and would cost the Daily Mail's owners about 4 million pounds ($8.06 million) in damages and costs.

Adelson, described by Forbes magazine as the world's 12th richest man, sued over a story which his lawyer Gideon Benaim said was false, distressing and embarrassing.

The newspaper said Adelson colluded with businessman Malcolm Glazer to take control of Manchester United. Glazer finally bought the football club in 2005.

The paper ran the story over two pages in May 2005, describing Adelson as "the ruthless casino baron who rules Las Vegas."

In court, Benaim said the article suggested Adelson and his company, Las Vegas Sands Corp., the world's biggest casino operator, engaged in "despicable business practices" and "habitually and corruptly bought political favor."

The article also said he sent a friend to ask his wife for a divorce on the night before she had a cancer operation.

"These allegations were all unjustified," Benaim told the court. "As such, they represent a grave slur on Mr Adelson's personal integrity and business reputation."

Adelson had never met Glazer, the lawyer added.

Associated Newspapers, the publisher of the Daily Mail, withdrew the allegations, apologized to Adelson and his company and agreed to pay him substantial undisclosed damages.

In a statement issued by London law firm Schillings, Adelson said: "The Daily Mail's article was a wholly unwarranted attack on me and our business.

"It was based on a lie -- the false allegation that I had secret meetings with Malcolm Glazer, a man I have never met -- and proceeded to make wild and false claims about my personal life and my career."

Adelson said he would donate the damages to the Royal Marsden cancer hospital in London.

Reuters/Nielsen

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