Author accused of repeating ‘lazy inaccuracies’ about businessman’s role in Russian politics and society

Roman Abramovich’s lawyer said it was defamatory to describe the businessman as having “a corrupt relationship” with the Russian president, Vladimir Putin, and that he had acted “covertly at his direction” in key business deals such as the purchase of Chelsea football club.

Speaking on the first morning of a preliminary hearing of a high court libel claim against a bestselling book about the modern Kremlin, Hugh Tomlinson QC said the 54-year-old billionaire did not “bring this claim lightly” and understood it could be characterised as “an attack on public interest journalism”.

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