So there’s an Uzbek billionaire trying to get his grubby sausage-fingered mits into the club I love. Outspoken ex-British Ambassador of Uzbekistan, Craig Murray, posts some accusations about Usmanov’s past on his website which don’t paint Usmanov in a particularly pretty light. Usmanov’s City solicitors Schillings then bully Murray’s ISP into taking down his site (rather than taking legal action against Murray himself, who would very much appreciate his day in court) as well as those of others who have repeated the claims. As a result, several other blogs, including that of Boris Johnson, have been caught in the crossfire and have found themselves out of action. Shillings have also threatened plenty of others, including my good chum Arseblogger, who was forced to remove some of Murray’s accusations.
Happily, the whole thing appears to have backfired horribly on Usmanov and his team as the stories of heavy-handedness propagate around the internet. Labour MP Tom Watson has been raising awareness, Channel 4 News ran a piece last night, and the blog Chicken Yoghurt is tallying sites that are pushing the story.
I’d imagine Usmanov is learning that the sort of posturing, weight-throwing and bully-boy tactics that are obviously acceptable in the oligarchic world of corporate takeovers in which he has amassed his fortunes aren’t quite so effective when it comes to smothering information, irrespective of whether it be fact, fiction or opinion.