Statement regarding Abramovich v. HarperCollins and other

We are pleased that HarperCollins and the author have apologised to Mr Abramovich and agreed to amend the book, removing several false claims about him. These statements lacked evidence and were indeed false. This follows the English High Court’s determination that the book did indeed include several defamatory claims about Mr Abramovich. In total, amendments resulting in the deletion or addition of over 1,700 words have been agreed.

As Mr Abramovich stated when issuing his claim earlier this year, its sole purpose was to refute the false allegations published regarding his name and have them corrected, including the false statements made about the nature of the purchase and activities of Chelsea Football Club.

In contrast to events relayed in the book, Mr Abramovich’s ambition with Chelsea Football Club has always been clear and transparent: to create world-class teams on the pitch and to ensure the club plays a positive role in all of its communities. The Club’s successes and activities over the years speak for themselves, including the trophies won, expansion of the Chelsea Academy, development of the Women’s team, and the Chelsea Foundation becoming the largest charitable organisation within the Premier League.

We are pleased that today’s changes and the resulting apology address the false allegations made on this subject and look forward to further developing Chelsea’s many positive initiatives in the UK, most notably our programmes combatting antisemitism and racism.

We further welcome that several other false statements published about Mr Abramovich have been corrected or deleted as part of today’s settlement. This includes the misrepresentation of events surrounding the creation and sale of Sibneft – including false statements regarding the litigation brought by Mr Berezovsky against Mr Abramovich and the subsequent ruling in Mr Abramovich’s favour.

During the court proceedings, Mr Berezovsky’s false claims to ownership of Sibneft were categorically rejected by the High Court.

Regarding the profits from the sale of Sibneft, speculative statements made in the book that these were to be considered someone else’s, mainly based on an interview the author conducted in 2005 with Mr Berezovsky, are entirely false. Mr Berezovsky’s statements on this matter were made prior to the lengthy legal proceedings he brought against Mr Abramovich where subsequently Mr Berezovsky was not able to produce any of the evidence he referred to in his interview and was further found by the court to have “deliberately fabricated” evidence.

The outcome from these proceedings should have been considered prior to repeating false statements. We welcome that HarperCollins have now made amendments to delete false statements and correct the defamatory allegations.

Finally, there has unfortunately been some misreporting about the nature of this legal claim. This book was published, for profit, by one of the world’s largest publishing houses. Publishing false, sensational, or defamatory statements about a public person in the pursuit of sales is wrong. HarperCollins should be, and now have been, held to reasonable publishing standards and have ample financial resources to withstand a well-founded legal claim that seeks to correct the record.

As the objectives of this legal claim have never been punitive, we have not asked for any damages to be paid. We have, however, asked that HarperCollins makes a donationin lieu of damages to a charitable organization, to which they have agreed.

Spokesperson for Mr Abramovich
 

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