March 23 – Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich has launched legal action against the author and publisher of a book which alleges he acted corruptly and bought the club on the direction of Vladimir Putin.
The Russian billionaire oligarch claims ‘Putin’s People: How the KGB took back Russia and then took on the West’, a critically acclaimed book by Catherine Belton published by Harper Collins, contains “false and defamatory” statements about his 2003 acquisition of Chelsea.
Abramovich’s legal team said it issued legal proceedings for defamation following efforts to come to an agreement with the publishers, according to a statement on Chelsea’s website.
Belton is a special correspondent for Reuters, a former Moscow correspondent for The Financial Times and has previously reported for The Moscow Times.
“’Today my legal representatives have issued legal proceedings in England in relation to a book that was published in the UK,” he said in a statement.
“It has never been my ambition to gain a public profile and I have always been reluctant to provide commentary on any matters, including any false or misleading statements about me or Chelsea Football Club.
“However, it has become clear that the false allegations in this book are having a damaging effect, not only on my personal reputation, but also in respect of the activities of Chelsea Football Club.”
‘The book contains a number of false and defamatory statements about me, including about my purchase, and the activities, of Chelsea Football Club.”
He said that the legal action was “not taken lightly”, and added that his legal team had engaged with HarperCollins’ own lawyers in an attempt to find an “amicable resolution”, but this did not prove successful.
“I have every belief the courts will give me a fair hearing, as they have in the past.”
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