The London-based weekly also apologized to the prime minister's father, Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew, for suggesting that for similar reasons he supported and condoned the appointment of his daughter-in-law, Ho Ching, to lead Temasek, which manages government investments.
In addition to the apologies, the Economist is paying damages of $122,000 to the prime minister and $104,000 to his father. The Lees plan to donate the money to charity.
The apology, which referred to the Aug. 14 article, "Temasek, First Singapore, next the world," was published in the print and online editions of the magazine.
The Economist said it recognized the article meant or was understood to mean that "Mr. Lee Hsien Loong had appointed, or was instrumental in appointing, his wife, Mdm. Ho Ching to Temasek Holdings, not on merit, but for corrupt nepotist motives for the advancement of the Lee family's interests" and that "Mr. Lee Kuan Yew supported or condoned Mdm. Ho's appointment for like motives."
The magazine acknowledged that the allegations were "false and completely without foundation."