22 January 2009
Abramovich sues Sunday Times over alleged libel
Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich is suing the Sunday Times over an article that appeared on its front page, it has been revealed.
According to reports in the Guardian, the Chelsea Football Club (FC) owner filed a claim against the publication on Monday (January 19th).
His case centres on a piece written by business editor John Waples which claimed that Abramovich had "taken soundings" about selling the premiership club to Gulf Arabs - including some members of the Saudi royal family.
The businessman, who is listed in Forbes Magazine as one of the world's 50 wealthiest figures, is seeking an injunction to prevent the Sunday Times and its parent firm Times Newspapers from repeating the allegation.
Abramovich took over as the owner of Chelsea FC in June 2003.
After one season with the club, in which it finished second in the league, he appointed Jose Mourinho as the new manager.
Following this, Chelsea went on to finish the next season as league champions.
Sarah Webb, head of media and libel at Russell Jones & Walker, commented: "Abramovitch's decision to sue the Sunday Times over allegations that he was 'taking soundings' about selling the club to Gulf Arabs is a typically bold step, when it must be questionable whether it is defamatory to say of someone they are thinking of selling an asset.
"Also given the current interest in the club by a German consortium, if Mr Abramovitch is tempted to sell he may have abandon the proceedings."