Abramovich wins libel trial over book ‘Putin's People’

15:39, 24 November 2021
Abramovich wins libel trial over book ‘Putin's People’

The Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich won a libel case in London over the book of the journalist Catherine Belton "Putin's People: How The KGB Took Back Russia And Then Took On The West”, published by HarperCollins, the Mirror reported.

Belton, the former Moscow reporter for the Financial Times, claimed that  Abramovich "was acting under Kremlin direction" when he bought the Chelsea football club for £150 million in 2003.

The London High Court called the allegation that Abramovich bought the club at the behest of Russian President Vladimir Putin is defamatory.

Andrew Caldecott, who represents the interests of the author of the book, Catherine Belton, in court, noted that the ‘Putin’s people’ contains a firm denial from a person close to Abramovich that he bought Chelsea on the Putin’s command.

Justice Tipples also ruled that the allegations in the book are presented as statements of fact, rather than expressions of opinion as Belton had argued.

Abramovich's spokesperson said: "We welcome today's judgment which rules that the book 'Putin's People' indeed makes several defamatory allegations about Abramovich, including false allegations about the nature of the purchase of Chelsea Football Club.