Rosneft files lawsuits against ‘Novaya Gazeta,’ ‘Istories,’ and ‘Bloomberg’ for unknown reasons
Russian oil giant Rosneft has filed lawsuits with the Moscow Arbitration Court against the independent newspaper Novaya Gazeta, the investigative outlet IStories, and the media company Bloomberg, according to three separate case cards on the court’s website.
The statements of claim referred to the “establishment of facts of legal significance.” According to RIA Novosti, recently Russian courts have been using this wording to register suits for the protection of business reputations. The lawsuit against Novaya Gazeta includes journalist Maxim Averbukh as a co-defendant, while the suit against IStories lists journalist Roman Shleynov. None of the statements of claim have been accepted for consideration as of yet.
Why Rosneft filed lawsuits against these media outlets remains unknown. Novaya Gazeta said they are unaware of the substance of the claim, since the newspaper has yet to be presented with the lawsuit. On February 20, Novaya Gazeta published an article by Maxim Averbukh, in which he analyzed Rosneft’s financial results and disputed CEO Igor Sechin’s claims that it was the only oil company in the world to make a profit in 2020. Whether the lawsuit is linked to this article remains unknown.
In conversation with Open Media, IStories journalist Roman Shleynov presumed that the lawsuit against his employer is linked to an article published on February 8, in which he reported that in 2014 Rosneft bought a stake in the Italian tire manufacturer Pirelli. While Rosneft has denied these allegations, IStories noted that information about the deal was published on the oil company’s website.
Rosneft confirmed that it did indeed file lawsuits with the Moscow Arbitration Court, but didn’t disclose any other details. Spokespeople for Bloomberg declined to comment on the claim.
Both Rosneft and the company’s CEO Igor Sechin have repeatedly filed lawsuits against Russian media outlets. In 2016, Rosneft demanded that RBC retract an article about the company and pay it three billion rubles ($40.6 million by today’s exchange rates) in compensation. The court only ruled in favor of the retraction. Then in 2017, Rosneft filed a lawsuit against the business newspaper Kommersant, but withdrew the claim after the author of the offending article issued an apology. In 2020, Rosneft filed yet another suit against RBC, seeking 43 billion rubles ($528 million by today’s exchange rates) in compensation over an article about a scheme for selling off the company’s Venezuelan assets — the oil company withdrew the suit after RBC apologized.
Igor Sechin has personally won lawsuits against the business newspaper Vedomosti (over a report about Sechin building a house in Barvikha) and Novaya Gazeta (over the “Princess Olga” article), among others.