Billionaire casino magnate Sheldon Adelson has reportedly settled a libel lawsuit he had brought against a reporter from The Wall Street Journal newspaper regarding a 2012 article in which he was described as “foul-mouthed”.
According to a report from The Wall Street Journal, both sides agreed to dismiss the suit brought in 2013 on Thursday and bear their own legal costs with no money being paid while the article at the heart of the matter is to remain online unchanged.
The newspaper reported that Adelson, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer for Las Vegas Sands Corporation, had brought his action against reporter Kate O’Keefe in Hong Kong because laws there make it easier for plaintiffs to win libel cases, in part, because they put the burden on defendants to prove the truth of any challenged statement.
O’Keefe had reportedly been serving as the Hong Kong-based gaming industry reporter for The Wall Street Journal when she wrote an article in which Adelson was described as “a scrappy [and] foul-mouthed billionaire from working-class Dorchester, Massachusetts”. The 83-year-old apparently took umbrage at such a depiction and immediately filed suit.
The Wall Street Journal reported that the disputed story had focused on the legal battle between Adelson and the former boss of his casino operations in Macau. Although it was co-written with another reporter, only O’Keefe was named in the suit while The Wall Street Journal and publisher Dow Jones And Company were also omitted.
“We are pleased that the parties have agreed that the suit will be dismissed,” read a statement from The Wall Street Journal. “The [Wall Street] Journal and Ms O’Keefe remain fully committed to continuing to provide fair and accurate reporting in all matters including in our coverage of Mr Adelson and his businesses.”
Although the lawsuit had been originally filed in a Hong Kong court, much of the legal maneuvering took place in the United States with The Wall Street Journal reportedly filing federal subpoenas for testimony as to whether the 83-year-old was indeed “foul-mouthed” from executives at Las Vegas Sands Corporation and Adelson’s former bodyguard and driver. Counsel for Adelson contended in U.S. court documents that O’Keefe was not an impartial reporter with respect to Adelson and his companies and claimed that O’Keefe had engaged in her own independent defaming of Adelson.
The newspaper explained that O’Keefe had spent six years reporting on the gambling industry from Hong Kong and had written extensively about Las Vegas Sands Corporation and the Asian casino sector before the lawsuit was filed. She remained on the beat throughout the court proceedings and was even promoted to cover the gambling industry globally before relocating to Washington, DC, a year ago where she now reports on Chinese financial markets and American politics for The Wall Street Journal.