The New York Times Company will pay damages totalling 160,000 Singapore dollars (114,000 US) to Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and two other senior ministers over an article about political dynasties, the leaders' lawyer said Thursday.
The newspaper's international edition had printed an apology on Wednesday over the article which it said may have implied that Lee, the son of Singapore's founding father Lee Kuan Yew, did not get the job on merit.
The elder Lee is a senior adviser in his son's cabinet with the title of "minister mentor."
An apology was also issued to former prime minister Goh Chok Tong, who is now senior minister.
Davinder Singh, the lawyer for the Singaporean leaders, said the newspaper would pay 60,000 Singapore dollars in damages to Prime Minister Lee and 50,000 dollars each to the elder Lee and Goh. It will also pay legal costs.
"They have an agreed period to pay the damages," Singh told AFP, declining to give further details.
The New York Times said the article by Hong Kong-based columnist Philip Bowring, which included the Lees in a list of Asian political dynasties, "may have been understood by readers to infer that the younger Mr. Lee did not achieve his position through merit".
"We wish to state clearly that this inference was not intended," it said.
Entitled "All In The Family", the article was published last month in the International Herald Tribune, the global edition of the New York Times.
The Singapore leaders, alleging the article was libellous, demanded an apology, damages and legal costs.
"We apologise to Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew and former prime minister Goh Chok Tong for any distress or embarrassment caused by any breach of the undertaking and the article," the newspaper said.
Singapore's leaders have won hundreds of thousands of dollars in damages in defamation cases against critics and foreign publications, which they say are necessary to protect their reputations from unfounded attacks.
Last year, Hong Kong-based Far Eastern Economic Review and its editor paid over 400,000 dollars to settle a defamation suit filed by Prime Minister Lee and his father.
Source: AFP Asian Edition