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The Ario Law Firm team effectively protected the business reputation of a Ukrainian bank and its top management in a dispute with the “Antikor” portal

News, Projects

Litigation

09 May 2023

The team at Ario Law Firm, represented by Senior Partner Julian Khorunzhiy, along with lawyers Anton Didenko and Nadiia Hryshchenko, successfully defended the interests of a commercial bank and its top management in a case involving the protection of honor, dignity, and business reputation. The court deemed the information spread against the client by the "Antikor" portal to be unreliable. The company Teka Group Foundation, the registrant of the domain name "Antikor," was ordered by the court to pay 100,000 UAH in moral damages.

In 2022, several internet media and Telegram channels, previously noted for spreading compromising materials, circulated baseless claims regarding the alleged involvement of a commercial bank and its top executives in laundering funds obtained from illicit drug trafficking. Additionally, they accused them of engaging in fraudulent schemes through pseudo-volunteer activities.

The lawyers at Ario Law Firm presented the following arguments to the court:

  • There were no criminal investigations, reports of suspicion, or indictments against the bank or its top executives.
  • The disseminated information could harm the business reputation of the financial institution and tarnish the honor and dignity of its top executives (validated by linguistic expertise conducted by the Ukrainian Bureau of Linguistic Expertise).
  • Both the bank and its top executives held impeccable business reputations and commanded respect within Ukrainian society.

Furthermore, the legal team conducted an independent investigation to identify individuals associated with the "Antikor" portal, given that the website lacks information about its ownership, and the contentious material was published anonymously.

Under legislation, if the author of disseminated information remains unidentified, or their identity and/or place of residence cannot be ascertained, and if the information is distributed anonymously and freely accessible on the website, then the rightful respondent is the owner of the website where the material is hosted. In this scenario, the owner facilitated the dissemination of unreliable information through the technological infrastructure and operational framework of the site. The website owner is defined as the individual who holds the account and establishes the terms and conditions for portal utilization. In instances where such an individual is absent, the website owner is considered to be the registrant of the domain name and/or the recipient of hosting services. Lawyers from Ario Law Firm determined that the registrant of the domain name is a Panama-based company known as Teka Group Foundation.

"In such cases, the most challenging aspect traditionally lies in identifying and locating the respondent, as platforms like 'Antikor' tend to be less than forthcoming about the individuals orchestrating such informational campaigns," explained Anton Didenko, associate at Ario Law Firm.

Furthermore, our legal team successfully contested the reliability of the primary source of this information a post on the Telegram channel 'Insider UA' in court.

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