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Russian tycoon wins defamation lawsuit against opposition activist

May 31, 15:19 UTC+3

The court ordered to delete from the internet statements concerning the plaintiff’s alleged involvement in corruption and his being convicted for rape

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© Mikhail Metzel/TASS

MOSCOW, May 31. /TASS/. Moscow’s Lyublinsky District Court has upheld the lawsuit filed by business magnate Alisher Usmanov against blogger and opposition activist Alexey Navalny, head of the Anti-Corruption Foundation, a TASS correspondent reports.

"The court upholds Usmanov’s lawsuit as the disputed information is damaging for his honor and dignity," Judge Marina Vasina ruled.

The court ordered to delete from the internet statements concerning the plaintiff’s alleged involvement in corruption and his being convicted for rape. Within a ten-day period Navalny will have to delete the relevant videos and text publications and publish corrections instead that should remain in place for no less than three months, the judge added.

Usmanov’s lawyers had requested the court that some fragments from twelve publications by Navalny and the Anti-Corruption Foundation be deleted. According to the lawyers, they did not demand that the entire video dubbed He Is Not Dimon to You, which caused the lawsuit, be deleted.

Before the court announced its ruling, Navalny’s attorney Ivan Zhdanov said that the defendant did not plan to implement the court’s decision if he were ordered to delete or edit the video. "It is impossible to edit the video, and as for removing it, we won’t do that," Zhdanov said.

Defamation lawsuit

Usmanov took Navalny to court after the activist’s Anti-Corruption Foundation claimed on its website in early March that Medvedev’s university mate Ilya Yeliseyev and the affiliated Sotsgosproekt fund received land and a mansion in the village of Znamenskoye on the prestigious Rublyovskoye Highway from Usmanov as a gift. The property’s estimated value is 5 billion rubles ($88.4 mln).

Usmanov insisted Navalny acknowledge that claims were a misrepresentation but did not seek any financial compensation. According to Bloomberg, Usmanov is Russia’s fifth wealthiest businessman.

The agency estimates his assets at $14 billion. The businessman is the largest stakeholder of the USM Holdings (48%), which, in turn, controls Russia’s largest producer of iron products Metalloinvest, as well as the Mobile operator Megafon and the Internet company Mail.ru. Also, he owns the publishing house Kommersant and has a 30% stake in Britain’s Arsenal football club. He is an active investor in foreign high-tech assets.

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