Roman Abramovich receives apology from HarperCollins over Putin claims

A lawyer for Abramovich had argued in court that passages in the book "Putin's People: How the KGB Took Back Russia and then Took on the West", were clearly defamatory.

 Chelsea Football Club owner Roman Abramovich walks past the High Court in London on November 16, 2011.  (photo credit: REUTERS/SUZANNE PLUNKETT)
Chelsea Football Club owner Roman Abramovich walks past the High Court in London on November 16, 2011.
(photo credit: REUTERS/SUZANNE PLUNKETT)

Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich has received an apology from book publisher HarperCollins for publishing claims that he purchased the soccer club per instructions from Russian President Vladimir Putin.

In a 2020 book, British journalist Catherine Belton chronicled Putin’s rise to power and how many of his associates from the former Soviet spy services rose to positions of wealth and influence after he won the top Kremlin job in 1999.

A lawyer for Abramovich had argued in court that passages in the book Putin’s People: How the KGB Took Back Russia and then Took on the West, published by HarperCollins, were clearly defamatory. Abramovich sued both HarperCollins and Belton.

A banner reading ''Say No To Antisemitism'' is unfurled at midfield before Chelsea F.C.'s match on January 31, 2018, kicking off the club's campaign to fight antisemitism. (credit: CHELSEA FOOTBALL CLUB)A banner reading ''Say No To Antisemitism'' is unfurled at midfield before Chelsea F.C.'s match on January 31, 2018, kicking off the club's campaign to fight antisemitism. (credit: CHELSEA FOOTBALL CLUB)

Abramovich accepted a settlement in the case and on Wednesday a representative released a statement saying he was “pleased that HarperCollins and the author have apologized to Mr. Abramovich and agreed to amend the book, removing several false claims about him.

“These statements lacked evidence and were indeed false. This follows the English High Court’s determination that the book did indeed include several defamatory claims about Mr. Abramovich,” the representative said in the statement.

“In total, amendments resulting in the deletion or addition of over 1,700 words have been agreed. As Mr. Abramovich stated when issuing his claim earlier this year, its sole purpose was to refute the false allegations published regarding his name and have them corrected, including the false statements made about the nature of the purchase and activities of Chelsea Football Club.”