Claims that Abramovich bought Chelsea on Putin orders defamatory, judge rules
search

The latest Jewish News

Read this week’s digital edition

Click Here

Claims that Abramovich bought Chelsea on Putin orders defamatory, judge rules

Chelsea owner received early vindication of his continuing law suit against HarperCollins and author Catherine Belton.

Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich.
Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich.

Claims that Roman Abramovich bought Chelsea on the instruction of Vladimir Putin have been ruled as defamatory in the High Court.

Chelsea owner Abramovich has received early vindication of his continuing law suit against HarperCollins and author Catherine Belton.

A ruling from judge Mrs Justice Tipples has upheld Abramovich’s claims of nine defamatory statements made against him in Belton’s book Putin’s People.

Belton’s book includes claims from Sergei Pugachev that Abramovich bought Chelsea in 2003 on the personal orders of Russian president Putin.

Abramovich took the rare step of fighting the claims in court in a bid to set the record straight on his aims and ambitions for Chelsea.

And a ruling on Wednesday has left the Chelsea owner calling for the claims to be corrected.

“We welcome today’s judgment which rules that the book ‘Putin’s People’ indeed makes several defamatory allegations about Mr Abramovich, including false allegations about the nature of the purchase of Chelsea Football Club,” said a spokesperson for Abramovich.

“We are pleased that the judgment has found that the book carries a total of 9 defamatory allegations against Mr Abramovich, in line with the arguments in Mr Abramovich’s initial claim.

“Today’s judgment also rules that these allegations are allegations of fact and not an expression of opinion, as argued by the defendants.

“Today’s judgment further underscores the need for the false and defamatory claims about Mr. Abramovich to be corrected as soon as possible.”

Russian Billionaire Pugachev claimed in the High Court in 2018 that Putin had ordered Abramovich to purchase Chelsea.

Pugachev’s witness statements were branded “self-serving” and “impossible to believe” by Mrs Justice Rose, in his dispute with JSC Mezhdunarodniy Promyshlenniy Bank.

Pugachev went on to lose the High Court case, but his allegations about Abramovich and Chelsea were repeated in interviews for the 2020 book Putin’s People.

The High Court judgement has ruled that the disputed statements in Putin’s People are presented as fact, not opinion.

“In my view, these passages would not be understood by the ordinary reasonable reader as providing sufficient reason to doubt that the claimant purchased Chelsea Football Club on Putin’s orders,” read Mrs Justice Tipples’ judgement.

“In conclusion, therefore, the meanings I have identified are all defamatory of the claimant at common law.”

Support your Jewish community. Support your Jewish News

Thank you for helping to make Jewish News the leading source of news and opinion for the UK Jewish community. Today we're asking for your invaluable help to continue putting our community first in everything we do.

Unlike other Jewish media, we do not charge for content. That won’t change. Because we are free, we rely on advertising to cover our costs. This vital lifeline, which has dropped in recent years, has fallen further due to coronavirus.

For as little as £5 a month you can help sustain the vital work we do in celebrating and standing up for Jewish life in Britain.

Jewish News holds our community together and keeps us connected. Like a synagogue, it’s where people turn to feel part of something bigger. It also proudly shows the rest of Britain the vibrancy and rich culture of modern Jewish life.

You can make a quick and easy one-off or monthly contribution of £5, £10, £20 or any other sum you’re comfortable with.

100% of your donation will help us continue celebrating our community, in all its dynamic diversity...

Engaging

Being a community platform means so much more than producing a newspaper and website. One of our proudest roles is media partnering with our invaluable charities to amplify the outstanding work they do to help us all.

Celebrating

There’s no shortage of oys in the world but Jewish News takes every opportunity to celebrate the joys too, through projects like Night of Heroes, 40 Under 40 and other compelling countdowns that make the community kvell with pride.

Pioneering

In the first collaboration between media outlets from different faiths, Jewish News worked with British Muslim TV and Church Times to produce a list of young activists leading the way on interfaith understanding.

Campaigning

Royal Mail issued a stamp honouring Holocaust hero Sir Nicholas Winton after a Jewish News campaign attracted more than 100,000 backers. Jewish Newsalso produces special editions of the paper highlighting pressing issues including mental health and Holocaust remembrance.

Easy access

In an age when news is readily accessible, Jewish News provides high-quality content free online and offline, removing any financial barriers to connecting people.

Voice of our community to wider society

The Jewish News team regularly appears on TV, radio and on the pages of the national press to comment on stories about the Jewish community. Easy access to the paper on the streets of London also means Jewish News provides an invaluable window into the community for the country at large.

We hope you agree all this is worth preserving.

read more:
comments