Rich Russian Wants $50 Million From GoDaddy


     PHOENIX (CN) – A Russian millionaire sued GoDaddy.com for $50 million, claiming it defamed him by hosting a number of websites that accuse him of fraud.
     Konstantin Malofeev sued GoDaddy, Domains by Proxy and John Doe – the anonymous operator of the websites – on Dec. 14 in Court.
     Malofeev claims he is a businessman, politician, and chairman of the board of directors of Marshall Capital Group, one of Russia’s largest equity investment groups. He is also a member of the board of trustees for the nonprofit Safe Internet League, founder of the St. Basil the Great Charitable Foundation and St. Basil the Great Grammar School, and a member of the Council of Deputies of Znamenskoye Rural Settlement of Ugransky District in the Smolensk Region of the Russian Federation, according to the lawsuit.
     He claims that a number of websites incorporating his name and hosted by GoDaddy defamed him, and that Domains by Proxy conceals the identifying information of the anonymous registrant.
     “The websites contain assertions that Malofeev is ‘a thief and a criminal,’ who has committed fraud, privatization fraud, illegal purchasing of shares of regional energy companies, committing fraud on investors, and other alleged illegal acts,” the complaint states.
     Malofeev says the websites claim he was subject to a criminal proceeding, which was “allegedly conveniently closed,” and that he violated a number of articles in Russia’s Criminal Code, including fraud, illegal possession and dissipation of assets, bribery, and organization of a criminal community.
     Malofeev, who denies these allegations, claims he suffered damages to his “personal and professional reputations … by the publication of these false statements.”
     Slate.com reported in October that the European Union and Canada sanctioned Malofeev for allegedly financing rebel forces in Ukraine.
     Slate reported that Malofeev told it: “We have an agreement between the Donetsk People’s Republic and my foundation,” but “it’s only food, medicine, and other things that could be used only for humanitarian purposes.”
     Bloomberg News reported in June this year that Malofeev made more than $700 million in November 2013 when he sold his largest asset, a 7.5 percent stake in the Russian state-run phone company Rostelecom, back to the company.
     Malofeev seeks an injunction stopping defendant from publishing any defamatory statements, removal of the websites and transfer of the domains to him, and $50 million in damages. He is represented by David Degnan.

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