Chelsea owner wins first round in book libel case

Roman Abramovich has welcomed a ruling in the first round of a defamation lawsuit over allegations that he bought Chelsea Football Club on Vladimir Putin’s orders as part of a plot to gain influence in the West.

The 55-year-old billionaire is suing journalist Catherine Bilton over her bestselling book Putin’s People: How the KGB Regained Russia and Then Seized the West, published by HarperCollins last April.

Mrs. Bilton He said that Abramovich was “acting under the direction of the Kremlin” when he bought the Premier League club for 150 million pounds (179 million euros) in 2003.

His attorney, Hugh Tomlinson K. .

However, Andrew Caldecott QC, representing Ms. Belton and HarperCollins, noted that the reference to Mr. Abramovich being treasurer was “in quotation marks, indicating that it was someone else’s note”.

In a judgment issued yesterday, Ms. Tables found that readers of the book would understand that Abramovich “is under the control of President Vladimir Putin and, at the direction of President Putin and the Kremlin, has had to make a fortune out of his business empire. It is available for the use of President Putin and his regime.”

“The plaintiff had no choice but to comply with these directives because if he had not done so, he would have lost his fortune to the Russian state and would have been exiled or imprisoned,” she said.

The judge found nine of the allegations It was defamatory against Mr. Abramovich.

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