(Reuters) - The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee retracted statements it made linking Las Vegas Sands Chief Executive Sheldon Adelson with funds it said came from "Chinese prostitution money" and that it said had been contributed to Republican congressional candidates.
"In press statements issued on June 29 and July 2, 2012, the DCCC made unsubstantiated allegations that attacked Sheldon Adelson, a supporter of the opposing party," the Democratic committee said in a statement. "This was wrong. The statements were untrue and unfair, and we retract them."
The allegations came from a filing in Nevada state court in which Steven Jacobs, the former president of Sands China Ltd, alleged wrongful termination and asserted that he had seen documents in which Adelson "personally approved" what he called "a prostitution strategy" at the company's casino operation in the Chinese special administrative region of Macau.
In a July 16 letter to the DCCC, attorneys for Adelson, 78, demanded that the committee retract the allegations and apologize to Adelson.
"Mr. Adelson does not tolerate prostitution, let alone, as you have said, make money from it," the attorneys wrote. "The fact is that Mr. Adelson has consistently objected to and maintained a strong policy against prostitution."
On July 20, Adelson filed suit in a Florida state court, claiming defamation against Jacobs and seeking unspecified damages for statements that his suit said "impugn Mr. Adelson's integrity and harm his reputation."
Adelson is a major contributor to Republican candidates and is the largest individual donor to presumed Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney. He and his wife Miriam contributed $10 million to a political action committee that backs Romney.
District Court Judge Elizabeth Gonzalez has scheduled an August 30 hearing to decide whether Las Vegas Sands Corp withheld financial documents in the wrongful termination case brought by Jacobs.
(Reporting by Ronald Grover and Sue Zeidler in Los Angeles; Editing by Lisa Shumaker)