Film producer Steve Bing and his lawyer have received a public apology at London's High Court over an allegation they had orchestrated a vicious campaign to destroy Elizabeth Hurley's reputation.

The libel action resulted from an article published in Britain's DAILY MAIL newspaper in December 2001, which the court heard caused Bing - who's the father of Hurley's son DAMIAN - and Los Angeles lawyer MARTIN SINGER considerable "distress" and "embarrassment".

The Daily Mail agreed to apologise to Bing and Singer and "pay substantial sums to British childrens' charities chosen by them by way of damages and also their legal costs".

Bing's solicitor, NATHALIE PATERSON, told the court the case related to an article from 22 December, entitled PRIVATE EYES AND SEXUAL SLURS - HOW BING IS TRYING TO DESTROY LIZ and ASSASSINATION OF LIZ H!

Paterson says, "According to the Daily Mail's article, the so-called 'anti-Hurley' team deployed by Mr Bing included a private detective called Anthony Pellicano who was engaged to dig up dirt on her and lawyer PERRY WANDER plus a string of models."

"The alleged purpose of the campaign was to reduce the sum of money which a California jury would order Mr Bing to pay Ms Hurley in any paternity suit brought against him if he should prove to be the father of her child."

She told the Judge, "The defendants now accept there was no truth whatsoever in these allegations. No such campaign was waged or orchestrated by Mr Bing or by Mr Singer on Mr Bing's behalf.

"They had not instructed Anthony Pellicano, or the others named in the article to brief the media against Ms Hurley. Mr Singer has not been involved in a campaign to blacken Ms Hurley's name."

REBECCA JACKSON, solicitor for the defendants, said, "They accept that the article was not true and they sincerely apologise for the embarrassment and distress which they have caused the claimants. They have undertaken not to repeat the libels."