Ontario's highest court has upheld a legal victory for Toronto Mayor Rob Ford against a restaurant owner who had sued him for defamation.

George Foulidis had sued over comments Ford made to a newspaper — when he was a city councillor — suggesting an untendered, 20-year leasing deal between Foulidis's company, Tuggs Inc., and the city was corrupt, adding that it "stinks to high heaven."

A lower-court judge dismissed the lawsuit in December 2012, ruling that Foulidis did not prove the comments were directed at him nor that they were defamatory.

Foulidis appealed the decision, but the Court of Appeal for Ontario dismissed it in a ruling released today.

The court writes that Foulidis was not the target of Ford's words, nor were the remarks abusive or insulting toward Foulidis.

The trial judge had come to the same conclusion, saying Ford "voiced only a suspicion of corruption" and linked the word corruption to city council in-camera meetings, and the Appeal Court says it sees no basis to interfere with that.