A retired businessman who sued Next Media magnate Jimmy Lai Chee-ying for the cost of advertisements on universal suffrage had his case dismissed yesterday. Koo Ming-kown, founder of Nam Tai Electronics and a philanthropist who donated HK$600,000 for Sichuan earthquake relief, was ordered by the District Court to pay costs incurred during the legal proceedings against Mr Lai, Next Magazine's publisher and chairman of Next Media. Mr Koo claimed Mr Lai owed him HK$470,222 for advertisements related to universal suffrage that he placed in 15 newspapers in 2005. He said a Next article had misled him into believing that Mr Lai would foot half the bill for such ads, in whichever newspaper they appeared. Handing down the judgment, District Court Judge David Lok Kai-hong said the evidence clearly showed that Mr Koo tried to use the vagueness of an appeal for such ads that Mr Lai had made in Apple Daily to launch a lawsuit and that the facts indicated Mr Koo had an ulterior motive in pursuing the litigation. Apple Daily is owned by Next Media. Mr Koo filed claims against Next Media Limited, its subsidiary Next Media Publishing Limited, which publishes Next Magazine, Mr Lai and Democratic Party lawmaker James To Kun-sun, whose quotes were featured in an article which Mr Koo claimed misled him. In addition to suing Next and Mr Lai, Mr Koo lodged a complaint with the Legislative Council and the police against Mr To, who he claimed made up the stories about anonymous advertisers to attract political support. Judge Lok said in his judgment that he believed Mr Koo used the vagueness of Mr Lai's appeal to place pressure on Mr To to substantiate his political propaganda campaign. Mr To said he was happy that the court produced a fair judgment. Mr Koo's counsel could not be reached. Next declined to comment.