Claims That Putin Ordered Abramovich to Buy Chelsea Are Defamatory, Judge Rules
(Bloomberg) -- Claims in a book that Roman Abramovich, the billionaire owner of Chelsea Football Club Ltd., was ordered by President Vladimir Putin to by the club were defamatory a London judge ruled.
The preliminary ruling paves the way for the suit between Abramovich and Catherine Belton, the author of “Putin’s People: How The KGB Took Back Russia And Then Took On The West,” which was published by HarperCollins, to proceed.
Judge Amanda Tipples ruled Wednesday that several parts of the book could be seen to be defamatory and that they are presented as fact rather than opinion.
Abramovich was accused by Belton in her book of buying Chelsea at the “secret discretion of Putin to infiltrate and corrupt the U.K. political elite,” Abramovich’s lawyer said during a London hearing in July. He was also described by the author as “Putin’s cashier,” and one of the “Kremlin’s trusted custodians,” the lawyer said.
“Today’s judgment further underscores the need for the false and defamatory claims about Mr. Abramovich to be corrected as soon as possible,” a spokesperson for Abramovich said.
A HarperCollins spokesperson said the publisher is considering the ruling.
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