Opposition leaders Boris Nemtsov and Vladimir Milov lose libel suit to businessman

Boris Nemtsov
Businessman Gennady Timchenko has won a libel case at a Moscow court against the co-authors of a report titled “Putin. Results. 10 years” which claimed that ties with Vladimir Putin helped him become one of the richest men in Russia.

­The report was penned by opposition leaders Boris Nemtsov and Vladimir Milov. Timchenko said he was offended by their claim that he made a fortune thanks to his ties with Vladimir Putin.

“Old Putin’s friends, who were nobody before he came to power, namely Gennady Timchenko, Yury Kovalchuk, brother Rotenberg, have become dollar billionaires,” says the report. “There are grounds to suggest that all those people are only formal owners of companies the benefit from which actually goes to Putin.”

In his law suit, Timchenko, co-owner of the Gunvor oil trading company, called the statements about his alleged friendship with Putin “untrue”.

The court ruled that these claims should be refuted in the influential liberal daily Kommersant and on the internet. The defendants will also have to pay Timchenko 100,000 rubles (around $3,400) in compensation.

According to their lawyer, Nemtsov and Milov plan to appeal the ruling. Lawyer Vadim Prokhorov said the plaintiff failed to prove “the main thing, the defamatory character of disputed phrases.”