On Wednesday Boris Berezovsky won a court suit of slander against the Russian television and radio VGTRK. The judge ruled the defendants to pay 150 thousand to Mr Berezovsky, although he expressed doubt that that amount would be obtained.
Judge Idi who had already conducted a similar case allowed the claim on slander of Mr. Berezovsky against the head of “Alfa Group” Mikhail Fridman, and he took the decision in the same courtroom by himself without a jury. The prescribed amount should be divided by both defendants in the suit - VGTRK, as well as Vladimir Terlyuk, who accused Berezovsky of falsifying documents to obtain asylum in the plot of the TV channel “RTR-Planeta" two years ago. Although during the hearing Mr. Terlyuk consistently denied that it had been him taken from the back with a changed tone in the plot of the channel; the judge considered his position untenable, as well as the whole story that he had been forced to declare himself an agent of the FSB for the attempt on Mr. Berezovsky in London, he called it "fantastic".
One should note that the side of Mr. Berezovsky was presented in a much more favorable light in this court. During the hearings Mr. Terlyuk had to defend himself alone having no means for qualified British lawyers. As a result, being unfamiliar with the rules of behavior in a court he turned the meeting into a farce at times by giving stumbling testimonies, interrupting the lawyers of the plaintiff and entering into a squabble with witnesses.
VGTRK had no opportunity at all to protect itself after the injunction. The company stated that it was forbidden to defend its position in court and to attend the meetings after they refused to disclose the source of information (i.e., the identity of Mr. Terlyuk). Judge Idi more than once expressed discontent about such a position; and even in the decision he stated for the umpteenth time that it was a misrepresentation of the information, and that the company had been injuncted solely because of their unwillingness to comply with the time frames of preparation for the hearings and to cooperate with the plaintiff’s attorneys.
As for the plaintiff party, it was much more consistent in regard of testimony, and clearly impressed the Judge Idi. So that in his decision he rated flattering the associates of Mr. Berezovsky - Yuli Dubov, and Alexander Goldfarb who acted as witnesses –by saying that they spoke English very well and were highly educated."
The meeting on the decision presentation took a few minutes. During the hearing Mr Terlyuk was supported by the representatives of Russian General Prosecutor: State Duma deputy Alexander Khinshtein, and lawyer of Georgian origin Inna Margiani, they came to London for the testimony; while at the disclosure decision he remained absolutely alone, and even without an interpreter, who was then paid by the defendant Berezovsky.
The Judge Idi was doubtful that the businessman would be reimbursed for a slightly spoiled business reputation by the plot of VGTRK. The fate of Mr. Terlyuk still remains unclear – he is a native of Kazakhstan under the protection of British and Russian authorities, and at the same time he doesn’t have citizenship in those countries.
Even during the hearings it was announced that British authorities were going to ask Mr. Terlyuk to leave the UK.
VGTRK has already announced that it intends to appeal the decision of the London court, considering it illegal. According to the company lawyer Zoya Matveevskaya, the VGTRK complaint about the inadmissibility of the trial without a jury trial is already under consideration by the Court of Appeal in London.
Source: newspaper "Kommersant» № 41 (4341) on 11/03/2010