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"U.S. Court finds Kommersant guilty of libel"

The Moscow Times

January 25, 2000

A court in Arlington, Virginia, has awarded $3 million to controversial Russian banker Alexander Konanykhine in a libel case against the newspaper Kommersant, his lawyer said.

It was the second time that Arlington County Circuit Court has handed Konanykhine a multimillion dollar verdict against a Russian newspaper. On Dec. 16, the court found that Izvestia had libeled Konanykhine by calling him a crook and a bigamist, and awarded him $33.5 million in damages. His Washington-based lawyer, J.P. Szymkowicz, said the court ruled against Kommersant last week but gave no specifics. "Kommersant published defamatory articles about Mr. Konanykhine. Mr. Konanykhine suffered damages because of the publication of the articles," Szymkowicz said. "This case is very similar to Izvestia." Kommersant's lawyer, Robert Brooke of the Virginia-based Mays & Valentine law firm, said Monday he had no comment. Szymkowicz said the county court had jurisdiction because English-language editions of the newspapers are available in the United States on the Internet. Collecting on the verdicts, however, may prove difficult. After the Izvestia ruling, Konanykhine said he was negotiating with at least two Russian entities interested in buying the verdict. The Washington Post reported that Konanykhine was once in charge of moving billions of dollars out of Russia for the KGB, an allegation Konanykhine denies vehemently. He fled Russia in September 1992, saying KGB-connected thugs had taken over his business empire.

"I think that combined with the $33.5 million verdict in the Izvestia case, this verdict clearly demonstrates that major Russian publications engage in the practice of character assassinations on behalf of the Russian organized crime," Konanykhine wrote in an e-mail message.

The Moscow Times
Moscow Newspaper
Newspaper Kommersant

More News...

Media About Alex

Washington Post:
Konanykhin, one of the first Russian millionaires after the fall of the commies, left in 1992 and was granted asylum here in 1999. He's built a very successful Web advertising business in New York City. He had been chosen "New York Businessman of the Year." "As such, you will be honored and presented with your award," NRCC chairman Thomas M. Reynolds (R-N.Y.) said, at a "special ceremony" April 1. " President Bush and Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger are our special invited guests.
Alex Konanykhin controlled Russia's largest commercial bank in the 1990s
Wall Street Journal:
Mr. Konanykhin was a whiz-kid physics student who became a pioneering Russian capitalist in early 1990s, building a banking and investment empire valued at an estimated $300 million all by his mid-20s. He was a member of President Boris Yeltsin's inner circle.
The Baltimore Sun:
Business whiz kid.
Russian Bill Gates.
The Times:
By the time he was 25 he was one of the most important figures in post-Communist Russia. But in 1992, while on a business trip to Hungary, Alex Konanykhine was kidnapped.
The New York Times:
The Federal Bureau of Investigation notified Konanykhin that Russian organized crime figures had paid to have him killed.
CBS "60 Minutes":
Alex Konanykhin didn't only have KGB after him… He had the FBI, the Justice Department, even the CIA all on his case, as a favor to the Russians, part of a deal to allow the FBI to keep a bureau in Moscow.
Los Angeles Daily Journal:
Representing himself through much of the process, Konanykhin managed to convince an immigration judge of an alleged INS and KGB conspiracy and cover-up. Following the court's admonishment, the INS agreed to drop all charges and also pay $100,000..The judge also ordered an investigation of the Justice Department. In separate actions, Konanykhine subsequently won multimillion dollar libel judgments against two Russian newspapers. A $100 million lawsuit against the Justice Department is pending, alleging perjury, fraud, torture and witness tampering by U.S government officers on behalf of the Russian Mafia.
Profit Magazine:
Imagine you are a teenage physics genius who quickly amasses a $300 million empire of real estate and banking ventures, has dozens of cars, six hundred employees, several mansions and two hundred bodyguards—but you are nonetheless kidnapped by those you trusted, threatened with torture and death, and have your entire empire stolen from you one dark night in Budapest. You escape with your life by racing through Eastern-block countries and flying to New York on stashed-away passports—only to have the KGB and Russian Mafia hell-bent on your hide and the U.S. government jailing you and conspiring to serve you up into their clutches. All this before your 29th birthday. Sound like a Tom Clancy thriller? No. . . just a slice in the life of Alexander Konanykhine.