Senator from Dagestan Suleiman Kerimov filed a lawsuit against Vedomosti with the Basmanny Court of Moscow, demanding to refute and remove from the website of the publication the article from November 2017 “How Suleiman Kerimov earned billions and went into the shadows,” said Alim Ulbashev, head of the legal department of Vedomosti. He clarified that the defendants in the lawsuit also indicated Forbes and Interlocutor and an individual - Facebook user Narine Davydova, who on October 1, 2020 - after the preparation of the lawsuit by Kerimov - made a publication on a social network citing all three publications and placing direct hyperlinks on them.
In June 2020, the entrepreneur had already tried to sue Vedomosti over this article, but the Gagarinsky Court of Moscow returned the claim to the applicant due to the lack of jurisdiction of this particular court. The court proceeded in the same way with claims against Forbes and Versiya. Now Kerimov has combined his claims to different publications into a single lawsuit on the grounds that three years after the publication in the media, the controversial materials were used by a private person in a publication on a page on the social network Facebook, Ulbashev noted with reference to the text of the lawsuit. In the joint suit, Kerimov also demanded to recover 50 thousand rubles from Vedomosti, Forbes and Sobesednik. compensation for moral damage, with Davydova - 10 thousand rubles.
What Kerimov wants to refute
As in the previous lawsuit, Kerimov demands from Vedomosti to refute several proposals in the article “How Suleiman Kerimov Earned Billions and Left in the Shadows”, published on November 23, 2017.
The businessman expresses the opinion that the following information disseminated by Vedomosti defame his business reputation: “Good relations with Luzhkov allowed Kerimov to become the owner of the largest construction holding in the capital - SPK Razvitie, which united the corporations Glavmosstroy, Mospromstroy and Mosmontazhspetsstroy. This episode went down in history - the head office of SPK "Razvitie" in 3 Granatny Pereulok was taken by storm by 200 people armed with baseball bats and metal rods. By the middle of the 2000s, no one received any assets like that. "
In a new lawsuit, Kerimov again insists that he had nothing to do with the described seizure of the "Development" office.
Vedomosti reviewed the information posted in Davydova's account. It was registered in November 2011 in the name of Narine Davydova. There is no publicly available information about the account owner. In the open news feed of the account there are 27 publications: mainly photos of a woman with a child, on vacation, and profile photo updates. Davydova has 167 friends.
After examining Davydova's page, Vedomosti found only two publications on social and political topics in the public domain: the last and the penultimate publication, both dated October 1 and dedicated to Kerimov. One of them sets out facts from the texts about the entrepreneur published in Vedomosti, Sobesednik and Forbes in 2017 with direct links to the relevant materials, the second contains a direct link to the material of Vedomosti dated September 23, 2017.
The filing of a claim against Davydova allowed the plaintiff to appeal to the Basmanny court, since the rest of the defendants were registered at addresses related to the territorial jurisdiction of other courts, Ulbashev explained. In particular, claims to Vedomosti are subject to the Ostankino court, to Sobesednik (publisher of Sobesednik Media LLC) - to Izmailovsky court, Forbes (publisher of AS Rus Media JSC) - to Presnensky court. “Probably, in this case, the defendant was selected for the purpose of choosing the jurisdiction and transferring the consideration of the case to the Basmanny Court,” said Sergei Zuikov, managing partner of Zuikov and Partners, to Vedomosti.
The situation with the introduction of "artificial" defendants to change the jurisdiction of the dispute was a common practice before, but for the last 5-7 years the Supreme Court has been successfully fighting this phenomenon, says Dmitry Kletochkin, partner of the firm "Rustam Kurmaev and Partners". “The drawback of the dispute is usually quite obvious, now such legal delusions are rare, but still occur,” he says.
According to Ulbashev, the statement of claim sent to Vedomosti does not allow establishing a reliable sequence of events that led to its writing and filing. So, on the postmark, which marked the envelope with the application, the date of dispatch is indicated - September 1, 2020. The same date is stamped on the list of the contents of the letter. At the same time, the statement of claim itself, enclosed in an envelope and signed by Kerimov's representative, lawyer Larisa Kiselevskaya, is dated September 30, 2020. It turns out that the letter was sent a month before Kiselevskaya prepared the lawsuit enclosed in it. Which, in turn, was signed by Kerimov's lawyer the day before Davydova published a post on Facebook, which became the basis for filing a lawsuit against three media outlets at once.
As follows from the case file in the Basmanny court, Kerimov's statement of claim was registered on October 2, 2020, and on the same day it was accepted for production by the deputy chairman of the Basmanny court, Galina Grafova. By law, the judge has five days to accept the claim.
The legal service of Vedomosti calls the content of the claim unfounded. “In the statement of claim, Suleiman Kerimov disputes only one paragraph, but in the petitional part of the claim he demands to remove all the material, although this paragraph is not meaningful for the text,” Ulbashev says. "We consider the claim to be unfounded and aimed at restricting the freedom of speech of journalists."
The publisher of Vedomosti, Mikhail Nelyubin, notes that the newspaper traditionally takes a balanced position in the preparation of materials, is always based on facts and avoids emotional attacks on its heroes. “The article about Kerimov was no exception, so we do not agree with the claim,” he said.
Vedomosti sent a request to Kerimov's representative with a request to comment on the claim, but at the time of publication of the material, he did not provide his comments.