NEW YORK (AP) – The owners of a Russian bank are suing BuzzFeed for publishing an uncorroborated dossier that alleged they were part of a Russian scheme to influence the 2016 U.S. presidential election.
Mikhail Fridman, Petr Aven and German Khan of Alfa Bank filed the defamation lawsuit Friday in Manhattan. They are seeking unspecified damages from BuzzFeed, editor-in-chief Ben Smith, reporter Ken Bensinger and editors Miriam Elder and Mark Schoofs.
The dossier published Jan. 10 included explosive claims that Russians had compiled compromising information about Republican Donald Trump. Buzzfeed admitted that the allegations were unverified and “potentially unverifiable.”
The lawsuit says Buzzfeed defamed the plaintiffs by linking them to the Kremlin campaign to interfere in the U.S. election.
BuzzFeed spokesman Matt Mittenthal calls the lawsuit a “shameless attempt to bully and intimidate BuzzFeed News.”