Moscow court grants defamation lawsuit against Navalny
MOSCOW, September 19 (RAPSI) – The Lyublinsky District Court of Moscow on Tuesday granted a defamation lawsuit filed against Russian opposition leader Alexey Navalny by the Foundation for support of socially relevant government projects (Sotzgosproject), RAPSI correspondent reports from the courtroom.
The court ordered Navalny and the Anti-Corruption Foundation to retract information stating that businessman Alisher Usmanov gave a bribe to Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev by gifting the latter’s charity foundation. In addition, the defendants must also retract claims stating that the plaintiff was involved in a criminal scheme and that it is not conducting actual charity.
Also, the defendants must delete fragments of published materials containing false and defamatory information.
Earlier today, Navalny’s lawyer Ivan Zhdanov said that it is impossible to characterize statements made in the politician’s investigations disputed as part of defamation lawsuit without linguistic expertise.
The lawsuit was filed in relation to a movie published on Navalny’s Youtube channel. According to the plaintiff, information distributed by the defendants is false and defames the plaintiff’s reputation. In particular, Sotzgosproject contests several assertions including one stating that “oligarch Usmanov gave a bribe to Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev by gifting the latter’s charity foundation 5 billion rubles (about $87.5 million).”
On May 31, the Lyublinsky District Court granted a defamation lawsuit filed by Usmanov against Navalny. The court recognized information about Usmanov distributed by the Anti-Corruption Foundation and Navalny as discrediting and untrue and ordered the defendants to refute the statements.
Usmanov filed a civil lawsuit against Navalny over protection of honor and dignity in April. The lawsuit is related to a movie published by the politician on his Youtube channel implying that Russia’s Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev had acquired property using non-profit foundations.
In particular, the movie shows that Usmanov has gifted a land plot with a mansion to a foundation allegedly controlled by Medvedev. The Prime Minister said that intent of “these so-called investigations” is to get people out onto the streets and to achieve particular political goals. Usmanov said that Navalny misleads people and that his assertions are libel.
According to the updated 2017 ranking compiled by Forbes magazine, Usmanov holds the fifth place in the list of Russia’s richest businessmen with a net worth $15.2 billion. His largest assets are shares in the ore and steel giant Metalloinvest, shares in electronics, media and telecom companies as well as 30% of shares in Arsenal Football Club.