Former UK ambassador to Uzbekistan Craig Murray has vowed to carry on making allegations against billionaire Arsenal shareholder Alisher Usmanov, despite attempts to silence him and his supporters.
Murray told The Reg: "If the man believes he was libelled then he should take me to court."
Murray's blog was deleted by its host on Friday after threats from Usmanov's UK legal team. It's expected to reappear in the early hours of tomorrow on an overseas server, and will repeat the charges that drew heavy fire from specialist libel firm Schillings.
The ex-diplomat says he has contacted Schillings to ask for clarification of which specific aspect of his allegations they contest, but has not received a response. "They say my book [Murder in Samarkand] is 'grossly libellous and defamatory', yet it has been widely available for a year and has sold 25,000 copies, without their actually taking any legal action," he added.
Murray's criticism of Usmanov stems from his rise in Uzbekistan following the collapse of communism to become one of Russia's richest men. He denies the accusations. His profile in the UK has skyrocketed since he followed Chelsea chairman and fellow oligarch Roman Abramovich into football investment.
Murray's blog entry about Usmanov, made September 2, were picked up by many political and Arsenal websites which later also received complaints from Schillings. It became the third-highest hit on Google for the search "usmanov", but was quickly removed from Murray's site after the first legal letter.
Tim Ireland, who runs the political site Bloggerheads.com, which was downed along with Murray's site, has slammed Fasthosts' action, and denied the claim that they refused to comply with takedown requests after he repeated Murray's allegations.
I've noticed on Rachel North's blog that Bloggers have declared war on Usmanov. Like bloggers are going to take shit from Russian gangster capitalists..
here is the post which caused the commotion.
Arsene Wenger says: