Chelsea’s Russian owner Roman Abramovich applauds, as players celebrate their league title win at the end of the Premier League football match between Chelsea and Sunderland at Stamford Bridge in London on May 21, 2017. Chelsea’s extended victory parade reached a climax with the trophy presentation on May 21, 2017 after being crowned Premier League champions with two games to go.
UK publisher HarperCollins vowed on Tuesday to “robustly defend” a defamation lawsuit filed by Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich over a book that claims he took over Chelsea Football Club at the Kremlin’s behest.
Abramovich said he was suing HarperCollins and journalist Catherine Belton over her 2020 book “Putin’s People”, which alleges that President Vladimir Putin has overseen a vast exodus of ill-gotten money to spread Russian influence abroad.
Putin personally instructed Abramovich to buy Chelsea in 2003 as part of the influence operation, according to the book.
Under Abramovich’s free-spending chairmanship, the club has been transformed from one of England’s also-rans into a giant of European football.
“The book contains a number of false and defamatory statements about me, including about my purchase, and the activities, of Chelsea Football Club,” Abramovich said in a statement late Monday.