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Court Holds Hearing in Gazprom Vs Green Alliance Case

The Moscow Arbitration Court held a hearing on a lawsuit filed by Gazprom Neftekhim Salavat against the Green Alliance political party Thursday in a case related to protecting the business's reputation, Green Alliance's press service said.

Gazprom, Russia's largest state company, is suing the ecologically-oriented Green Alliance for 10 million rubles ($301,000) because it says the group damaged the company's reputation by staging a rally against the construction of a chemical plant in Salavat, in the republic of Bashkortostan.

The plant is supposed to produce chemical substances for paints, lacquers and personal hygiene products.

The new operation is expected to produce output of 80,000 tons of crude acrylic acid, 80,000 tons of butyl acid and 35,000 tons of ice acrylic acid per year.

The state giant filed the suit in response to a formal letter sent by the party's chairman, Gleb Fetisov, to Russia's Prosecutor General on April 26, 2013, requesting an audit of the project's compliance with environmental legislation.

Salavat residents have expressed concerns about the environmental situation in the area if the project goes ahead. It may have a detrimental impact on the lives and health of the population, a statement on the party's website said.

A well-known lawyer, Alexander Dobrovinsky, who has previously represented the interests of the late self-exiled tycoon Boris Berezovsky, said he would provide his services pro bono.

"It's not about protecting the party or Gleb Fetisov. It's about protecting the right of citizens to a healthy environment. I am convinced the party will find a better use for the 10 million rubles than [Gazprom]," Dobrovinsky said.

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