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Portnov wins the lawsuit against media outlets that listed him in an article on "collaborators" and "traitors"

27.12.2023, 14:30

The Pechersk District Court of Kyiv ordered the Anti-Corruption Action Centre and several media outlets to refute the information they previously reported about the former deputy head of the Presidential Administration, Andriy Portnov.

The ruling was issued on December 13, reports

In August 2023, Portnov filed a lawsuit against the NGO "Anti-Corruption Action Centre" (AntAC), the private enterprise "Optic Global Group" (previously known as "Ukrainian Pravda") and the LLC "Focus Media".

In the lawsuit, he noted that on July 24, 2023, the defendants spread "misinformation" about him by alleging that he was a "pro-Russian figure, a collaborator, a traitor, Russia's henchman who should be subject to target sanctions and have his assets confiscated according to the Law of Ukraine 'On Sanctions'".

The article in question was written by the Anti-Corruption Action Centre and is titled "Collaborators, traitors, Russia's henchmen: whose assets Ukraine has not seized yet"; it was released by "Ukrainian Pravda" on their website. The article was reposted by "Focus" and shared by the AntAC Telegram channel.

Portnov provided the court with written replies from the Security Service of Ukraine and the National Police, stating that he has never been held criminally liable for the above-mentioned facts. Therefore, he believes, the allegations spread by the media outlets saying that he was a "collaborator and a traitor" were false.

Portnov's attorney explained in court that the former official left for Russia in February 2014 due to the European Union sanctions being introduced and to the Ukrainian government's statements about his potential detention.

"On the day of the plaintiff's departure from Ukraine to the Russian Federation, there was no war in Ukraine yet, therefore staying in Russia during that period did not mean support for its policies," said Portnov's lawyer.

Judge Serhiy Vovk agreed with Portnov's arguments and satisfied his claim.

The AntAC will appeal the judgement, the organization's lawyer Oleksiy Boyko told

"The ruling is obviously biased. Certain statements, which have nothing to do the subject of the dispute at all, were 'copy-pasted' from the plaintiff's filings... Both the lawsuit and the judgement itself are based on words from the articles taken out of context, which distorts their content. But just as the article itself contains assessments of events, i.e. value judgments that are not subject to refutation in court, taking words out of context makes them even more value judgements," the lawyer added.

As reported by IMI, in March 2023 the Pechersk District Court of Kyiv judged in favour of Andriy Portnov in his defamation lawsuit against "Skhemy", NV, Hromadske, Pryamiy and Channel 5.

The court called the media outlets' reports about Portnov's alleged involvement in setting fire to the car of the "Skhemy" driver Borys Mazur "unreliable" and ordered the media outlets to refute it. According to the court, these reports "create the impression of Portnov as a criminal."

The court considers that Portnov "has been working in journalism" for many years, therefore sharing such information "negatively affects the public assessment of his person in the eyes of others."

In October 2019, Portnov posted the private data of Borys Mazur, the driver for the "Skhemy" program, in his Telegram channel. The editors regarded this as direct pressure and believed the arson had to do with the fact that Portnov had previously leaked the private data of the driver. On August 17, 2020, unknown persons set Mazur's car on fire.

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