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Alfa Bank Wins Libel Case Over Klebnikov Murder Claims

MOSNEWS
http://www.mosnews.com/news/2004/10/07/alpha.shtml

Alfa Bank and the head of Alfa Group, Mikhail Fridman, have won a case against the Moskovskaya Pravda newspaper in the Moscow Arbitration Court.

The newspaper published an article on July 21 describing a theory that the bank and Fridman were involved in the killing of Russian journalist Paul Klebnikov. The plaintiffs found this article “blackening the business reputation of companies that have the word Alpha in their names, first of all including Alpha Bank public corporation, a banking structure led by Mikhail Fridman,” Interfax news agency reported, citing the suit.

The court found the information concerning Fridman and the bank in the paper did not represent the real facts. The paper now has to pay three million rubles (about $102,000) to Fridman, and two million rubles to the bank. The article’s author, Konstantin Laskin, has to pay 500,000 rubles to Fridman and to the bank. The court decision comes into force in 30 days, with the respondents having the right to appeal.

Klebnikov, editor-in-chief of the Russian edition of Forbes, born in New York in 1963 to a family of Russian immigrants, was killed on July 9 as he was leaving his office building in Moscow. He died while in an ambulance en route to the hospital. The motive and the killers have still not been found.

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