Thursday, October 23, 2008

Russian Court Slaps Moscow Times With Fine

BOULDER, Colorado -- I wonder how the Moscow Times will cope with this fine handed down from a Russian Court. From Bloomberg:

Billionaire Prokhorov Wins Case Against Former Partner Potanin

By Torrey Clark

Oct. 22 (Bloomberg) -- Russian billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov won a defamation case against his former business partner Vladimir Potanin, as the two men split up their assets this year,
the Moscow Arbitration Court said.

"I'm satisfied with the decision,'' Prokhorov said on his personal blog today. "I consider the issue closed.''

The court ruled that comments made by Potanin in an interview published by The Moscow Times on June 11 were damaging to Prokhorov's reputation, spokeswoman Maria Raben said in an e- mailed response to questions today.

The judge fined Potanin and The Moscow Times, an English-language daily newspaper, 1,000 rubles ($37.15) each, and ordered OOO United Press, the newspaper's publishing house, to print a retraction of the comments, RIA Novosti said. Raben didn't immediately comment on the report.

Potanin plans to challenge the ruling within the allotted five days, Nina Dementsova, a spokeswoman for the businessman's Interros Holding Co., said by telephone today.

"We don't understand why the court refused to review our evidence about agreements on the division of assets and how they were carried out, or hear our witnesses,'' Dementsova said.

The Moscow Times will decide whether to appeal after receiving a copy of the court's decision, Ekaterina Son, the newspaper's publisher, said by mobile telephone today.

In the interview published by The Moscow Times, Potanin accused Prokhorov of ``breaking agreements'' about selling a blocking stake in GMK Norilsk Nickel, the world's biggest producer of the metal, Onexim Group, Prokhorov's investment company, said June 16.

Prokhorov sold his 25 percent plus one share in Norilsk to United Co. Rusal in April for 14 percent of Rusal and a cash sum supported by a $4.5 billion loan arranged by the aluminum company.

Thanks to Will for this story.

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