Tug of war: Alisher Usmanov vs Navalny
The Russian businessman published a 12-minute video, where he refutes the data from the oppositionist's investigation into the criminal nature of Usmanov's assets.
Billionaire Alisher Usmanov recorded a 12-minute video message to oppositionist Alexey Navalny and posted it on Vkontakte social network. The appeal is dedicated to a lawsuit about Usmanov's slander against Navalny, where the latter acts as a defendant. Today, on May 18, a preliminary hearing of this claim began in Lublinskoy court of Moscow.
The Russian businessman claimed that this video message was directed not only to Navalny, but also to Internet users who "still think" that the opposition politician tells the truth.
"Their opinion is essential to me. Moreover, I have a much deeper attitude to the Internet than you do. I do not use it, I develop it", Usmanov notes.
In the video Usmanov refers to Navalny exclusively with the informal ‘you’. The businessman calls the politician "ignoramus", "loser" and "failed businessman", who envies the success of the billionaire. In addition, he doubts the legal qualifications of Navalny and accuses him of lying. In particular, he lambastes Navalny's words about the fact that Usmanov's fortune has been earned in a dubious way. The billionaire assures that he did not privatize the Soviet mining and concentrating enterprises of the country, but purchased them for unprecedented amounts with his partners for their own and borrowed funds.
"You actually chose the wrong object to discredit the image of the Russian businessman. Not the case", Usmanov said.
The businessman denies the statements that he does not pay taxes in Russia. Usmanov informed that only last year his facilities transferred 2.7 billion rubles ($46.8 m) to the tax authorities, and over the past 10 years the amount of taxes paid by him amounted to almost half a billion dollars.
Usmanov also said that he had closed a lot of profitable trades on foreign exchanges. According to the businessman, out of the profit worth $4.5 billion dollars gained from them he gave a billion to charity and "just to help people".
"And for the rest ... If you are very interested, I want to explain so that you do not envy... I bought everything that I have, including a beautiful boat and airplane. Because I generally live in happiness, Lyosh [short form of Alexey], unlike you", Usmanov remarked.
The businessman paid special attention to his criminal past. According to him, he was imprisoned for six years under Soviet authority on framed-up cases, but his conviction is extinguished, in contrast to the conviction of Navalny.
"It is you who is a criminal out of us two," says the billionaire.
In the video message Usmanov also denies that he has ever given bribes in contrast to Navalny, who, according to the billionaire, paid kickbacks when he tried to build his own business.
"Understand that bribes are not registered in the registration chamber, money is not transferred openly from one’s account. You need to read books a little: on real estate, land ownership, because sometimes it happens that people are paid not only because they make a deal, but also for what they do not do", Usmanov continues.
This way the billionaire commented on the data from Navalny’s investigation, where the oppositionist said that Medvedev’s classmate Ilya Eliseyev and Sotsgosproekt fund associated with him had received a land plot with a house in the village of Znamenskoe on Rublevskoe highway worth 5 billion rubles ($86.8m) from Usmanov under a donation agreement. Usmanov himself later explained in an interview with Vedomosti that he had handed the mansion on Rublyovka to Sotsgosproekt in exchange for the land next to his plot that belonged to the fund. According to him, the idea of an exchange of land with the fund crossed his mind when Eliseyev told him about his plans to build "five large mansions" near Usmanov’s lot.
"Actually you should have investigated a bit deeper", the billionaire says, criticizing the investigations of the Anti-Corruption Foundation. Usmanov also suggested that Navalny apologize for accusations against him and offered to "live in peace".
"Unlike you, I paid for everything with my work, my skills, honesty, by the way. And you will never manage to slander me. You will still have to answer to me, Lyosha... Your attempts to defame me are like barking of Moska on an elephant. Darn you, Alexey Navalny", Usmanov concluded his appeal.
Today, May 18, Lublin court of Moscow held a pre-trial preparation on a lawsuit to protect the honor and dignity of businessman Alisher Usmanov against politician Alexey Navalny and the Anti-Corruption Foundation (FBK) founded by him. Usmanov demands to refute information that he considers untrue and discrediting his honor, dignity and business reputation, he does not ask for monetary compensation. The court set consideration of the claim on the merits on May 30, as the parties refused from the settlement agreement.
Video: Tug of war: Alisher Usmanov vs Navalny
The businessman stated that he had given the money to the Head of the Main Directorate of Interdepartmental Cooperation and Internal Security of the Investigative Committee of Russia (ICR) for "advancing the case" on the watch stolen from him by ICR officers.