The court reversed the decision of the previous court at the suit of "Rosneft" against RBC, removing the media holding with the obligation to pay the oil company compensation of 390 thousand. Rub. In this article, which has become the subject of the proceedings, according to the court, it must be removed and refuted
The Ninth Arbitration Court of Appeal on March 1 reversed the decision on the claim of the company "Rosneft" to RBC publications and journalists about protection of business reputation. The court decision is no compensation in 390 thousand. Rub., RBC which had to pay "Rosneft" according to the decision of the Arbitration Court of Moscow from mid-December.
The article reveals the details of the sale of shares of the oil companies to foreign buyers, it should be removed from the RBC. The information contained in it, recognized by the court discrediting the business reputation of the oil company. Mediaholding should publish a retraction within ten days after the court decision, as well as to report refuting the air of RBC TV.
"We are satisfied with the abolition of penalty payments with RBC. Previously, our side has repeatedly stressed that the plaintiff has not presented evidence of injury and causation of harm to the RBC publication - commented on the results of the meeting represented the interests of RBC's lawyer Eugene Reznik, a member of the Bar "Gridnev and partners." - The court heard our arguments. Now the results of the study of the reasoning part of the ruling of the Ninth Arbitration Court of Appeal conclusions will be drawn about the possibility of its further appeal. We are still guided by the opinion of experts, linguists, which were not defamatory statements and information in the media holding common materials, but which came into force a court decision shall be executed in accordance with the letter of the law. "
"Rosneft" representative Mikhail Leontyev told RBC that the oil company would appeal the court decision. According to Leontief, "do not appeal against it [the decision] is impossible." "With this decision, the court wanted to say? What is denigrating unpunished? "- Wondered spokesman. He added that he agrees with the court decision "can only be a crazy city."
Lead attorney law office "Pleshakov, Ushkalov and Partners" Maxim Denisov told RBC that the basis of its practice, the court's decision surprised. "It is strange for the Ninth Arbitration Appeals Court decision. He is rarely cancels judicial acts. As a rule, confirms, "- he said.
"RBC is not a party to any professional relationship related to" Rosneft "activities in the field of oil production. The attempt to cause damage is classified as "abuse of rights", - told RBC lawyer interterritorial Bar "Klishin and partners" Vladimir Entin. "If you have the right to sue, but you use it right only to intimidate journalists - is to use your existing rights for other purposes", - he added.
"Judging by the practice, the Ninth Arbitration Court of Appeal decided in the framework of the current civil legislation. And here is the property claims [Compensation] on the part of "Rosneft" will not ", - told RBC Moscow lawyer of the Bar" Knyazev and partners, "Zinnur Zinnyatullin. "The judicial system will not go beyond the existing practice. The next instance - it will be the Arbitration Court of Moscow District. Perspectives change, I do not see a solution for the Ninth Court of compensation, "- he said.
In December last year, the Moscow Arbitration Court satisfied the claim of the oil companies to the RBC (LLC "BusinessPress"), as well as to journalists Timothy Dzyadko, Maxim Tovkaylo, Lyudmila Podobedova and leading TV channel Konstantin Bochkarev. The judge reduced the amount of compensation in 8 thousand times:. Instead of the required "Rosneft" 3.179 billion rubles. Court appointed a compensation of 390 thousand. rub. The judgment also required the removal of the RBC which caused the proceedings articles and refutation.
The meeting with Sechin
The article titled "Sechin has asked the government to protect the" Rosneft "on BP's", which became the cause of the trial, was published on RBC's website in April 2016.
The material was devoted to preparations for the privatization and subsequent sale of 19.5% of shares of "Rosneft" foreign funds or companies. The paper sources told RBC that the CEO of "Rosneft" and chairman of the "Rosneftegas' Council, Igor Sechin, in preparation for the privatization of 19.5% of" Rosneft "has offered to oblige the potential buyer does not enter into shareholder agreements with the British BP (owns 19.75 % of "Rosneft"). Such a ban would eliminate the possibility of BP directly, or with a partner of a blocking stake in the Russian company. The representative of "Rosneft" at the time of writing which became the subject of a claim article declined to comment.
In May 2016, "Rosneft" has addressed with a claim to the Arbitration Court of Moscow. In a statement, the company claimed that the journalists damaged the business reputation of the state-owned company and jeopardize the "Rosneft" cooperation with BP. Possible damage to the company valued at 3.179 billion rubles., Which is presented in a court trial. According to the examination of professional evaluation of the Centre, which has resorted to "Rosneft", the value of the oil company fell by 3.179 billion rubles. due to the potential loss of value of goodwill (goodwill). In conclusion, the evaluators recognize that any capitalization of "Rosneft", nor its relationship with BP RBC publication is not affected. Financial requirements for RBC experts justified the increase in the "specific risks", "Rosneft".
However, as it became known in December, a deal on the privatization of "Rosneft" shares was a success: buyers were Swiss trader Glencore and Qatar sovereign fund (Qatar Investment Authority, QIA). As the official communications, € 10.5 billion was transferred to the budget.
The Court of First Instance's lawyers argued that a successful deal on privatization was the result of "hard work to overcome the negative news background," which established the defendants. In particular, they were told that the head of the company Igor Sechin personally came to BP to resolve the situation.
Meeting appellate court on Wednesday started with a slight delay: from the large number of journalists and representatives of the court had to change the meeting room, to fit to the whole audience.
Case considered the three judges. First they dealt with technical issues - were allowed to videotape and photograph the process. Then the floor was given to the lawyers, "Rosneft".
"We ask the court to change the decision of the first instance and to recover from the defendants 3.179 billion rubles. solidarity in order - voiced the position of one of the lawyers. - We believe that compensation is assigned consistent with the principles of fairness, reasonableness and proportionality. RBC - the largest holding, RBC channel is broadcast in 40 countries, and its audience - businessmen who may be potential investors. "
He noted that all the arguments of the journalists that they are unable to pay such large sums for payment they will require thousands of years, should not be taken into account. This position allows you to simply evade responsibility bankrupt violators, lawyer insisted.
"If you set fire to the tower worth 3 billion rubles, and at the same time earn 5 thousand rubles, then that -... 5 thousand rubles.. assign? - I supported his colleague. - If you do, then answer. Previously, it was necessary to think before the publication of such conduct. "
Asked representatives of RBC, what puts the damage caused by the publication of the reputation of "Rosneft", if the court of first instance found out that the head of the company Igor Sechin came to office BP in order to resolve the situation. "The fact that he even had to go to BP», - said the lawyer of "Rosneft".
In turn, RBC journalists and their lawyers were also asked to change the decision of the Court of First Instance: Fully refuse "Rosneft" in the lawsuit. They all claimed that no harm the reputation of "Rosneft" has not caused. And in the article were presented the correct information, as evidenced by the transaction for the privatization of "Rosneft" and about ten large transactions of the oil company. The very same publication did not cause any harm to the plaintiff.
"All interaction with counterparts continued in normal mode", - stated the lawyer Tovkaylo.
"Plaintiffs themselves do not speak about the specific dangers and the possibility of its occurrence in the future," - held a similar position and lawyer Dzyadko Podobedova Alexey Melnikov.
He also noted that the stated amount of compensation 3.179 billion rubles. It is neither reasonable nor fair. "All this leads to a restriction of media freedom and freedom of speech" - said Melnikov. He recalled that the income of ordinary journalists are not measured or billions, not millions and even designated payment is palpable for the defendants.
"The article said the deal for the privatization of the company, and it was exactly in that order, as written by journalists", - spoke in the trial court the lawyer Eugene Reznik.
According to all respondents, the true purpose of "Rosneft" in this trial did not restore the reputation and cause property damage.