19 Sep 2017 13:39

Court declines to summon PM Medvedev as witness in Sotsgosproyekt claim against Navalny

MOSCOW. Sept 19 (Interfax) - Moscow's Lyublinsky Court has declined to summon Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev as a witness in the libel lawsuit filed by the Sotsgosproyekt Fund against opposition activist Alexei Navalny and his Anti-Corruption Foundation, an Interfax correspondent reported from the courtroom.

"Taking into account the parties' positions, we dismiss the respondent's request," Judge Natalia Maksimovskikh said.

Ivan Zhadov and Vyacheslav Gimadi, legal representatives of Navalny and the Anti-Corruption Foundation, asked the judge to summon Medvedev. They also asked to summon former chair of the Sotsgosproyekt supervisory board Ilya Yeliseyev, Sotsgosproyekt General Director Alexei Chetvertkov, businessman Alisher Usmanov, and a number of other individuals. The court dismissed those requests.

In early March, the Anti-Corruption Foundation published a report, which, among other things, claimed that businessman Alisher Usmanov had donated a mansion with a 4-hectare plot of land in the Odintsovo district, Moscow region, to the Sotsgosproyekt Foundation, whose supervisory board is chaired by Ilya Yeliseyev, a university classmate of Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev.

On May 31, Moscow's Lyublinsky Court fully upheld Usmanov's claim against Navalny and the Anti-Corruption Foundation and compelled them to remove defamatory information and publish a refutation within ten days of the ruling taking effect. The court decided that the refutation should remain posted on the websites of the opposition activist and the Anti-Corruption Foundation for a period of three months.

Later, the Moscow City Court reversed a district court decision, ordering Navalny and the Anti-Corruption Foundation to delete fragments of investigative films, rather than the whole videos.