Libel Warriors

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Feb. 11, 2011, 2:41 a.m. | Ukraine — by Vlad Lavrov

Rinat Akhmetov (L) and Dmytro Firtash greet each other on May 18, 2010. The pair have a lot in common. They are billionaires, close to President Viktor Yanukovych and are fond of hiring top international lawyers to protect their reputations – even if it means filing libel lawsuits in London against news organizations, as Firtash did against the Kyiv Post in 2010 and as Akhmetov has done in the past.

Vlad Lavrov

Kyiv Post staff writer

Be careful what you say or write about two Ukrainian billionaires, Rinat Akhmetov and Dmytro Firtash. If they really take offense, they might file a libel lawsuit against you in London, the ’libel tourism’ capital of the world, known for its lax protections of free speech. Critics are pushing for changes in English libel law, some of which would curb lawsuits by foreigners.

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