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17 Jan, 2019 13:43

Billionaire Deripaska sues Communist leader Zyuganov for calling his business ‘biggest scam’

Billionaire Deripaska sues Communist leader Zyuganov for calling his business ‘biggest scam’

Russian metal tycoon Oleg Deripaska is suing Gennady Zyuganov, the leader of the Russian Communist Party, after the politician branded his business the “biggest scam.”

In a Parliament speech on key events of 2018, the Communist leader lashed out at his political opponents. Deripaska got a (dis)honorary mention for his attempts to insulate his aluminum business from Western sanctions targeting him personally, by reducing his stake in Rusal and En+ and thus relinquishing control over them. The companies also had some changes in management.

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“First they stole the factories from the citizens, and now they gave it to the Anglo-Saxons to control. This is madness! We have to investigate this crime, because this crime was committed against the strategic policy of our entire country and our national security,” the communist said after labeling Deripaska’s effort the “biggest scam” of the last year.

The speech was delivered on January 9, on the first working day after the New Year recess. Apparently, after some deliberation, Deripaska decided that the colorful rhetoric of his affairs is insulting enough to merit a lawsuit.

On Tuesday, his legal team filed the paperwork with a Moscow court, accusing Zyuganov of tarnishing Deripaska’s business reputation and demanding one million rubles ($15,000) in damages. The billionaire promised to donate the money to a charity, if he wins.

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The lawsuit says the politician’s words were published by the party’s social media accounts and cited by various news media outlets, which effectively makes them amount to libel. Zyuganov accused Deripaska of committing unspecified crimes while offering no evidence to back the allegations, the lawsuit argues, according to the news website RBK, which reviewed the court papers.

The Communist Party leader dismissed the news, saying he was not afraid of a court battle. “Which one will it be for me? My lawyers will handle it,” he was cited as saying.

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