Russian Bank Sues BuzzFeed Over Trump-Russia Dossier
The owners of Russian Alfa Bank have filed a defamation lawsuit against BuzzFeed for its publication of a controversial dossier on US President Donald Trump’s alleged ties to Russia. BuzzFeed called the lawsuit an attempt to bully and intimidate.
The infamous Donald Trump-Russia dossier was compiled by former British MI6 intelligence officer Christopher Steele, and contained a collection of unverified allegations of Trump’s misconduct and ties with Russia, including the claim that the Russian government had indecent footage featuring Trump.
Alfa Bank’s parent company Alfa Group – misspelled as Alpha Group – was mentioned in the 35-page document as involved in illicit money transfers and profiting from close ties with Russian President Vladimir Putin. BuzzFeed published the entire dossier on January 10, shortly after CNN made public the existence of the controversial document.
Alfa bank co-owners Mikhail Fridman, Petr Aven, and German Khan, who were named in the dossier, believe that the BuzzFeed publication was damaging to their reputation. On Friday, they filed a defamation lawsuit against the publisher and individuals involved in the publication – editor-in-chief Ben Smith, reporter Ken Bensinger, and editors Miriam Elder and Mark Schoofs – in the state court in Manhattan, seeking unspecified damages.
The complaint cited by Politico says that BuzzFeed admitted that many of the harmful statements in the dossier were unverified and potentially unverifiable, but decided to publish an unredacted version of the document without contacting Alfa Group first.