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Moscow court hears Usmanov v Navalny defamation case

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Moscow court hears Usmanov v Navalny defamation case
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A Moscow court has begun hearing a defamation case brought by one of Russia’s richest oligarchs against Alexei Navalny.

In an investigation into Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev’s alleged secret wealth, the opposition activist made a link with transactions by several billionaires including Alisher Usmanov.

Navalny, who has organised anti-corruption protests attracting thousands of people, told reporters that a request to summon Medvedev as a witness – and for property deeds to be produced – were both rejected by the court.

“They reject all our requests to summon witnesses and tell us they have nothing to do with the case,” he said.

Medvedev has dismissed a report by Navalny alleging corruption as politically-motivated “nonsense”.

Usmanov was not in court, letting his lawyers do the pleading. A minority shareholder in Arsenal football club and listed by Forbes as the fifth-richest man in Russia, the tycoon denies the allegations but has clearly been irritated by Navalny’s claims.

Earlier this year he published two videos dismissing the activist as a “loser”, signing off each time with the words “I spit on you”.