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Russian Tycoon Deripaska Sues Ex-Banker Tinkov for Defamation

Oleg Deripaska. AntonPopper777 (CC BY-SA 4.0)

Russian aluminum magnate Oleg Deripaska has sued bank founder Oleg Tinkov, seeking 2 billion rubles in damages ($32.5 million) for alleged defamation, media reported Monday. 

Both Deripaska and Tinkov are among the few influential Russian business owners to have spoken candidly about the negative impacts of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. 

Deripaska filed civil lawsuits against Tinkov — who is battling leukemia and lives outside Russia — and Instagram’s parent company Meta over the ex-banker’s characterization of Deripaska as a “thief,” according to the RBC news website.

“We demand that Oleg Yuryevich Tinkov remove the post, as well as pay compensation for moral and reputational damage in the amount of 2 billion rubles,” Deripaska's lawyer Alexei Melnikov told RBC. 

In April, Tinkov dismissed Deripaska as “an oligarch and a thief” in the comments below his own anti-war post on Instagram, which Russian authorities banned as “extremist” after launching the Ukraine invasion. Tinkov repeated that sentiment in a May interview with the popular YouTuber Yury Dud.

“Tinkov's audience is very large, which means that the information was widely disseminated,” Melnikov said. “Oleg Vladimirovich [Deripaska] considers it important to protect himself from attacks and dissemination of false information that has nothing to do with freedom of speech.”

The lawyer added that Meta is listed as a defendant in the lawsuit because its rights may be affected if the court rules to remove Tinkov’s post.

The court database indicates May 30 as the date when the Ust-Labinsky District Court in Deripaska’s native region of Krasnodar registered his lawsuit.

The first hearing is scheduled for Tuesday. 

Tinkov sold his remaining stake in the group that owns Tinkoff Bank in April, claiming the Kremlin forced him to do so after he condemned Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. 

Deripaska was slapped with asset freezes and travel bans by the European Union, the United Kingdom and Australia in response to Russia’s invasion. 

The United States previously placed sanctions on Deripaska and other tycoons and officials in 2018 over Russia’s possible interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election, which Deripaska and the Kremlin deny.

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