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Ruling on recovery of over $6,000 from RBC, journalists in favor of Rosneft reversed

The Ninth Commercial Court of Appeals on Wednesday overturned a lower court’s ruling ordering Russian news outlet RBC and several its journalists to pay Rosneft oil company 390,000 rubles (over $6,000) in libel damages, RAPSI learnt from the court.

However, the court held that the defendants must remove the article in dispute and publish a retraction within 10 days after the ruling becomes effective.

Rosneft has filed a defamation lawsuit demanding 3.179 billion rubles (about $48.5 million) in damages from RBC and its journalists.

The lawsuit was brought after an article about Rosneft privatization headlined 'Rosneft requests authorities to protect it from BP' had been published on the website of the newspaper on April 11, 2016.

Rosneft claimed that "information contained in the article published on RBC website is misleading." "It is a baseless fantasy on the part of journalists, or their so-called undisclosed sources,” the company said earlier in the press-release adding that only the Russian government had the right to decide how the company was to be privatized.

RBC journalists Timofey Dzyadko, Lyudmila Podobedova, and Maxim Tovkailo, Konstantin Bochkarev, alongside BusinessPress company (RBC newspaper publisher) and RBC-TV, were named co-defendants in the case.

In December 2016, the Moscow Commercial Court granted the claim in part ordering the defendants to pay the company 390,000 rubles.

RBC said the monetary claim was ungrounded and provided to the court income statements of the journalists. The lawyer for RBC told the court that the journalists would go bankrupt and the outlet would be destroyed if the claim was granted in full.

Sourse: RAPSI