American billionaire Sheldon Adelson won damages in London's High Court on Wednesday after the Daily Mail 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 in damages and costs.
Adelson, described by Forbes as the world's 12th richest man, sued over a report that he had colluded with businessman Malcolm Glazer to take control of Manchester United. Glazer finally bought the football club in 2005. The story, run in May 2005, described Adelson as a "ruthless casino baron who rules Las Vegas".
In court, Benaim said the article suggested Adelson and his company, Las Vegas Sands Corp., engaged in "despicable business practices" and "habitually and corruptly bought political favour". 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, publisher of the Daily Mail, withdrew the allegations, apologised to Adelson and agreed to pay him substantial undisclosed damages.
In a statement issued by London law firm Schillings, Adelson said that the article had been 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.
Want to enjoy 'Zen' reading - with no ads and just the article? Subscribe todaySubscribe now