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Court upholds libel compensation order vs. Forbes Russia editor - 1

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MOSCOW, May 15 (RIA Novosti) - A Moscow court upheld Tuesday an earlier court ruling ordering the Forbes Russia chief editor to pay libel compensation to Inteko company owned by the Moscow mayor's wife.

"A [court] decision to order Maxim Kashulinsky to pay 106,500 rubles for inflicting damage on [Inteko's] business reputation is thereby coming into force today," the Moscow City Court said.

Maxim Kashulinsky has been ordered to pay about $4,000 in a lawsuit filed by Inteko, which said the editor's allegation that the construction and investment firm's claims to the magazine were tantamount to attempts to impose censorship, which is illegal.

Inteko spokesman Pavel Astakhov also said Kashulinsky had published an article about the company in the form of assertion rather than opinion.

Inteko owner Yelena Baturina, Russia's richest woman, also accused the publishers of misquoting her on the cover of the magazine in the December 2006 edition.

The editor has insisted that prosecutors had failed to substantiate the libel claims and that the compensation ruling was a violation of free speech and freedom of expression.

The cover of the magazine originally carried Baturina's picture and quoted her as saying: "I enjoy guaranteed protection." The publishing house later agreed to correct the quote to "I enjoy guaranteed protection as an investor."

Russian media reports said earlier the article highlighted how Baturina had reshaped her real estate business ahead of her husband's departure from office in December 2007 so that Inteko could continue to profit from leasing land and real estate. The report cited figures in confirmation.

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