13 January 2024
Vedomosti reports with reference to the arbitration case database that EMHK LLC, in which Aleksei Venediktov, ex-head of the Ekho Moskvy radio station, is the majority shareholder, has filed a claim for 1.1 billion rubles against top managers of Gazprom-Media (GPM).
The defendants are Yulia Golubeva (deputy general director of GPM), Yuri Kostin (president of GPM-Radio), Vadim Tereshchuk (general director of GPM-Radio) and Ekaterina Pavlova (general director of Ekho Moskvy, the legal entity of the media holding). All of them are current members of the board of directors of CJSC Ekho Moskvy, Venediktov told Vedomosti. Leonid Savkov, another defendant, was a member of the board of directors in 2022, he said.
According to Venediktov, the purpose of the lawsuit is to recover damages from the top managers of Gazprom-Media.
“The losses are due to the ceased activity of the media owned by the joint-stock company and the withdrawal of rights to the trademarks Ekho Moskvy and Radio Ekho Moskvy,” Vedomosti reported.
The losses from the termination of Ekho Moskvy CJSC, as follows from the lawsuit, Emhk LLC estimated at 893 million rubles. The lawsuit states that this is the total of the joint-stock company’s income in 2021 (511.6 million rubles) and loss in 2022 (381.4 million rubles). The abandonment of the trademarks caused losses in the amount of their market value of 200 million rubles, the lawsuit notes.
“The defendants, being members of the Board of Directors and the sole executive body of Ekho Moskvy CJSC, in violation of the norms of the applicable law, acting contrary to the interests of the Company, made decisions that led to the complete cessation of the Company’s business activities and caused losses to the Company,” the suit says.
On March 1, 2022, Roskomnadzor blocked the Internet resources of Ekho Moskvy and the Dozhd TV channel in Russia for “purposeful placement on a systematic basis” of materials allegedly containing false information about the war in Ukraine. A few days later, the board of directors of Ekho Moskvy decided to close down the radio station.
On April 22, Russian authorities declared Aleksei Venediktov a “foreign agent”. The Russian Ministry of Justice considered that Venediktov’s salary and dividends from Dilettante magazine were a form of foreign funding.
In early March 2023, Aleksei Venediktov published an appeal asking to lift sanctions against Alfa Group co-owners Mikhail Fridman, Pyotr Aven, Aleksei Kuzmichev and German Khan. The petition was signed by many members of the opposition, including Leonid Volkov, then chairman of the board of International Anti-Corruption Foundation.
Volkov initially denied that he had signed such an appeal, but later said that he had made a “big political mistake” and resigned from his position at the Anti-Corruption Foundation.
The publication of Venediktov’s letter was preceded by the release of an investigation by the Anti-Corruption Foundation which alleged that the media manager had received almost 700 million rubles from Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin’s so-called “black fund,” namely My District, a city improvement program.
Translated by Ecaterina Hughes