Publisher HarperCollins corrects references to Usmanov in "Putin's People" book

By bne IntelliNews November 29, 2021

HarperCollins made changes and removed certain statements about Russian billionaire Alisher Usmanov, a well-known financier, industrialist and philanthropist, from the book ““Putin’s People: How the KGB Took Back Russia and then Took on the West” written by Catherine Belton.  

Commenting on the removal from the book of several inaccurate and defamatory statements, Usmanov’s business partner and the co-founder of the USM Group, Farhad Moshiri said: “We welcome the changes made by Harper Collins with respect to the book “Putin’s People: How the KGB Took Back Russia and then Took on the West” by Catherine Belton”.  

“The book originally contained a number of incorrect claims or statements about Alisher Usmanov. These statements were challenged by Mr Usmanov and additional information and evidence were provided. As a result the publisher and author agreed with the position of Mr Usmanov and a number of changes have been made, as well as certain statements were removed in the e-book and audiobook and will be changed in the next and any subsequent print editions. These changes were achieved without the requirement of formal proceedings,” Moshiri, the chairman of USM Group, said.

A similar outcome was reached with Russian oligarchs Pyotr Aven and Mikhail Fridman who own the Alfa Group and the UK-based LetterOne Group.  

However, the case for defamation brought by other Russian businessmen continues. The British High Court judge Mrs Justice Tipples concluded that passages that claimed Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich had bought the Chelsea Football Club on orders from Russian President Vladimir Putin were “defamatory” on November 24, according to reports.  

Justice Tipples went on to say that her ruling was only on the meaning of the passages, as it was likely to be understood by the public, and was not a ruling on if the accusations were true.  

“Putin’s People” also alleged Russians state-owned oil Rosneft’s 2006 IPO on the London Stock Exchange only succeeded because the “Kremlin or KGB” had put pressure on the Russian business elite to buy the shares and ensure the listing was a success. Justice Tipples ruled this meaning was “not defamatory” of Rosneft, but said a claim Rosneft overpaid for an oil company in a 2003 deal was “potentially” defamatory.  

Rosneft announced it was discontinuing its claims against HarperCollins last week, the Bookseller reported.  

Abramovich continues to pursue the case although no trial is expected to happen for at least a year, according to a report by The Guardian.

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