MOSCOW, May 30 (RAPSI, Oleg Sivozhelezov) – A judge considering a defamation lawsuit filed by Russian billionaire Alisher Usmanov against opposition politician Alexey Navalny has refused to recuse herself from the case, RAPSI reports from Moscow’s Lyublinsky District Court on Tuesday.
Navalny and his lawyer sought to recuse the judge because she had rejected 16 motions filed by them during the hearing. In particular, the defendant asked the court to summon several witnesses including Russia’s Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev and demanded the production of documents related to Usmanov’s and his companies’ business activities and their attachment to the case.
Lawyers for Usmanov characterized Navalny’s motions as unfounded and must be dismissed.
The judge held that the motions had been lodged untimely. The opposition politician in turn stumbled at her impartiality.
Usmanov lodged a civil lawsuit against Navalny over protection of honor and dignity in April. The lawsuit is related to a movie published by the politician on his Youtube channel implying that Russia’s Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev had acquired property using non-profit foundations.
In particular, the movie implies that Usmanov has gifted a land plot with a mansion to a foundation allegedly controlled by Medvedev. The Prime Minister said that intent of “these so-called investigations” is to get people out onto the streets and to achieve particular political goals. Usmanov said that Navalny misleads people and that his assertions are libel.
According to the updated 2017 ranking compiled by Forbes magazine, Usmanov holds the fifth place in the list of Russia’s richest businessmen with a net worth $15.2 billion. His largest assets are shares in the ore and steel giant Metalloinvest, shares in electronics, media and telecom companies as well as 30% of shares in Arsenal Football Club.