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Court gives full text of judgement on Usmanov’s claim against Navalny to both sides

Логотип TASS TASS 06.06.2017 TASS

MOSCOW, June 6. /TASS/. Moscow’s Lyublinsky District Court has given the full text of the judgement on Alisher Usmanov’s anti-defamation lawsuit against opposition activist and blogger Alexei Navalny and the Anti-Corruption Foundation to both sides, a source in the businessman’s press service told TASS.

"The sides have received the full text of the judgement in person to get familiar with its analytical part," the press service said.

According to the judgement, Navalny and the Anti-Corruption Foundation "have not provided any reliable evidence confirming that Usmanov had bribed Medvedev, Shuvalov, or other Russian officials." The information published by the defendants is essentially suggestions and generalities "for the purpose of rumormongering under the guise of trustworthy reports," the document says.

"Unfounded accusations broadcast by Navalny and the Anti-Corruption Foundation are highly considerable and substantial and reflect the defendants’ total lack of a reasonable and balanced approach to the facts being reported as is common in a democratic society. The society approves and gives every encouragement to donating property to the public interest and charity. Thus, a donation may only be acknowledged as a bribe through a special procedure provided for by the criminal and criminally-remedial law, and should be directly established by a court verdict. Meanwhile, such a court verdict regarding the donation on the base of a civil legal judgement to the Sotsgosproekt fund of land and buildings in the village of Znamenskoye is demonstrably not available," the judgement of the Lyublinsky District Court says.

Further to the decision, Navalny has to delete the data "acknowledged by the court as defamatory and at variance with the facts," that "Alisher B. Usmanov has bribed Dmitry A. Medvedev through donating a land plot with buildings in the village of Znamenskoye to the Sotsgosproekt fund, Alisher B. Usmanov censors the Kommersant Publishing House, Alisher B. Usmanov had bribed Igor I. Shuvalov, Alisher B. Usmanov is a criminal, had bribed Dmitry A. Medvedev and other Russian officials, had plundered mining and processing works, pays less taxes than required." The defendants have to delete those publications posted on three websites, on YouTube channel, and on Facebook social network during 10 days after the judgement comes into force. A retraction should be posted on the mentioned Internet resources for at least three months.

After the court pronounced the resolutive part of decision, Navalny said he would not abide by the court decision and delete the information acknowledged as at variance with the facts. Earlier, Navalny said he would file an appeal with the Moscow City Court.

Usmanov’s 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.

ITAR-TASS

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