×
Enjoying ad-free content?
Since July 1, 2024, we have disabled all ads to improve your reading experience.
This commitment costs us $10,000 a month. Your support can help us fill the gap.
Support us
Our journalism is banned in Russia. We need your help to keep providing you with the truth.

Nemtsov Loses Suit Filed by Putin's Ally

An old acquaintance of Prime Minister Vladimir Putin won a defamation lawsuit Wednesday against opposition leaders Boris Nemtsov and Vladimir Milov, who claimed that his thriving oil trading business was actually controlled by Putin.

Moscow's Zamoskvoretsky District Court ordered Nemtsov and Milov to pay 100,000 rubles ($3,400) each to Gennady Timchenko, co-owner of the Geneva-based oil trader Gunvor, over their June report "Putin. Results," Interfax reported.

The court also told Nemtsov and Milov to retract two claims in the report. One says Timchenko was "a nobody" before Putin's rise to power, and the other calls him "the nominal owner of the company, the real beneficiary of which is Putin."

Nemtsov and Milov promised to appeal.

The scathing report, which denounces Putin's decade in power as a time of rising corruption and incompetent state policies, said that Timchenko and St. Petersburg businessman Yury Kovalchuk "have turned into dollar billionaires" under Putin.

Forbes magazine estimated Timchenko's fortune at $1.9 billion last year, and Kovalchuk's at $950 million.

Gunvor handles more than one-third of all Russian crude exports, with the lion's share coming from state-controlled companies, including Rosneft and Gazprom Neft.

Kovalchuk and Timchenko are also majority shareholders in Bank Rossiya, which independent presidential candidate Ivan Rybkin claimed in 2004 was managing Putin's personal finances.

No proof of Putin financially benefiting from connections with Bank Rossiya was ever presented, and some industry watchers dismissed the reports at the time as an attempt to discredit Putin ahead of the 2004 presidential vote, which he won by a landslide.

Timchenko has made no secret of his acquaintance with Putin, whom he said he first met when sponsoring a St. Petersburg judo club where Putin, a judo enthusiast, served as honorary president in the 1990s.

But Timchenko publicly has denied speculation that he and Putin are close or that his company became a global player with Putin's help. He also sued The Economist magazine in 2008 over a publication linking his rise to the Kremlin. The lawsuit was settled out of court.

… we have a small favor to ask. As you may have heard, The Moscow Times, an independent news source for over 30 years, has been unjustly branded as a "foreign agent" by the Russian government. This blatant attempt to silence our voice is a direct assault on the integrity of journalism and the values we hold dear.

We, the journalists of The Moscow Times, refuse to be silenced. Our commitment to providing accurate and unbiased reporting on Russia remains unshaken. But we need your help to continue our critical mission.

Your support, no matter how small, makes a world of difference. If you can, please support us monthly starting from just $2. It's quick to set up, and you can be confident that you're making a significant impact every month by supporting open, independent journalism. Thank you.

Once
Monthly
Annual
Continue
paiment methods
Not ready to support today?
Remind me later.

Read more