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Court Denies Argumenty I Fakty's Motion to Unfreeze Assets, Asks Defendants To "Produce a Cancelled Check"

April 12, 2006 -- On Wednesday, April 12, 2006, Supreme Court Justice Karen S. Smith denied Defendant Argumenty i Fakty's motion to reverse her order freezing defendant's assets in the United States, stating that she saw no reason to overturn the results of a previously litigated Federal judgment. When counsel for Argumenty i Fakty Ariel Aminov claimed that Argumenty i Fakty had never authorized the litigation, and never retained Lowenfeld, she had read into the record portions from the opinion of Judge Koeltl, in which Judge Koeltl noted: "the Retainer Agreement recites that Itar-Tass USA, Inc. is authrized to enter into the agreement on behlaf of itself and Itar-Tass Russian News Agency, Argumenty i Fakty, and Komsomolskaya Pravda. These additional plaintiffs do not dispute the validity of the Agreement or the authority of Itar-Tass UAA, Inc. to have entered into it." She then told counsel: "I'm not going to overturn the valid decision of a Federal judge. The only thing you can show me to change my order is a satisfaction of judgment or a stay."

Defendants were served on the record with restraining notices and information subpoenae duces tecum. They now have until May 15, 2006 to provide complete docmentation as to their assets, income, expenses, advertising and sales revenues. False swearing or failure to comply will be punishable as contempt of court.

Defendant Komsomolskaya Pravda did not appear through counsel. However, their United States Bureau Chief, Yevgeny Umerenkov did appear and was duly served outside of court with a full set of court papers, a restraining notice and an information subpoena. Umerenkov attempted to refuse service at first, by denying he was a representative of Komsomolskaya Pravda, in the presence of five colleagues. These ostrich tactics seemed ironic in light of Komsomolskaya Pravda's editorial of April 11, 2006, which complained "no one even bothered to give our correspondent in New York Yevgeny Umerenkov a summons or notification of the court proceedings."

The next hearing was set for April 19, 2006.

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