Oleg Boyko and His Standoff with Google: Why did the Billionaire File a Claim?

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2 years ago

Over more than 20 years of entrepreneurial activity, businessman Oleg Boyko has hit the headlines more than once. This time it is for a surprising reason – a lawsuit, several years of proceedings, misinformation in the media and, finally, satisfaction of the claim. We dug to the bottom of this story.

Oleg Boyko and his standoff with Google: why did the billionaire file a claim?

What has happened?

Both media bashings and abundant unreliable information on the web are an integral part of the life of public persons who take up top positions in the ratings of Forbes and other high-profile business publications. Billionaire Oleg Boyko (Finstar Financial Group) has not escaped this plight. The businessman’s representatives decided to file a lawsuit when an anonymized website containing defamatory information appeared in the search results.

The reason of the claim was not simply errors or inaccuracies, but information that had been deliberately falsified. Attorney Vadim Prokhorov commented: “They post weird and often absurd things. Like an article stating that Oleg Boyko was personally responsible for the recession that hit Asian markets in 1997”. Besides, the resource contained reports from anonymous sources with no evidence to substantiate them whatsoever.

A total of 11 points were identified and refuted by representatives of Finstar Financial Group. “We suppose that posting this information on the website had been instigated by people previously employed in entities founded by Oleg Boyko, and who had been fired for various reasons”, Vadim Prokhorov noted. Thus, the lawsuit was aimed at preventing deliberately unreliable information from being posted on anonymous websites in order to cause damage to a business or simply blackmail a businessman.

Has Oleg Boyko won?

In 2019, the Latvian Vidzeme Court ruled that the statements posted on web resources were unreliable. Later, the Gagarinsky District Court of the City of Moscow passed a similar judgment. It ruled that the statements regarding Oleg Boyko and published in the mass media were recognized as completely untrue and satisfied the businessman’s lawsuit to Google LLC demanding to stop the Google search engine from indexing links to sites containing unreliable information regarding the investor.

After that the businessman contacted Google directly and demanded to exclude the link to the website from the search results displayed for “Oleg Boyko” query. The businessman’s requests were based on previous rulings of courts in Russia and Europe that had already entered into legal force. However, negotiations on this matter with the web search company stalled, and the businessman again applied to court.

As a result of the case retrial, the court ordered Google LLC to remove the links to websites recognized as unreliable by the court from search results by the plaintiff’s last and first name. The businessman also produced evidence confirming the fact that Google had included all the disputed links to web pages containing information regarding him into the results of the query.

What now?

On June 7, 2021 Roskomnadzor declared the activities of mass media distributing the above-mentioned information illegal and in breach of citizens’ rights to privacy, personal and family secrets. These media were blocked on the territory of the Russian Federation.

Oleg Boyko’s representatives did not demand the court to impose any liabilities on Google, but simply requested to remove from search results the information which violates the plaintiff’s legal rights and which had already been declared unreliable and defamatory by a final and binding judicial act.

“It was against abuses of this kind, and not against Google as a company, that this lawsuit, satisfied by the court, was directed. We did not request any liabilities for Google”, businessman Oleg Boyko has commented. According to him, this ruling can become a precedent. 

Media fakes

Even though Oleg Boyko had won this dispute, a number of Russian mass media previously reported that the Gagarinsky Court of Moscow declined the lawsuit of Finstar Financial Group founder Oleg Boyko against the Google search system, as well as that the court dismissed the claim to stop displaying links to website with unreliable information regarding him in the search results.

It was later found that the facts reported in the materials were completely false. At the time when these publications were released (November 2021), the above-mentioned decision had been already reversed by the cassation court of general jurisdiction. Besides, businessman Oleg Boyko has not filed any repeated or new claims on this matter against Google, which is also procedurally impossible.

On Finstar Financial Group

Finstar Financial Group is a diversified international investment group founded by a team of investors led by Oleg Boyko in 1996. By 2021, Finstar has strengthened its presence in 30 countries worldwide, and its managed assets amount to over $ 2 billion. The financial group is primarily focused on fintech and the banking sector (financial technologies and banks). Previously, the company has successfully implemented projects in IT, real estate, FMCG retail, media and entertainment.

Finstar is the most geographically stable company in the realm of lending business. Strategically, it is differentiated from its rivals by alliances, among other things. Over the last 30 years we have acquired, developed and sold a huge number of companies. This is our core business, part of a complex modification employed by no other similar financial group.

Oleg Boyko

In the last ten years Finstar acquired a wealth of experience in the field of digital financial services, mainly, as a result of investing in the largest financial company of Europe in 2011 and launching its own project, Digital Finance International (DFI). Fintech not only creates an opportunity to collect large volumes of data, but also allows to efficiently process it. Oleg Boyko believes that this is the foundation of today’s financial business.  

Fintech, or financial technology, are innovative products helping financial departments and companies manage the financial aspects of business. They include software, mobile apps and business models. According to Oleg Boyko, fintech is the area with the highest growth potential. “The segment we operate in is the largest ‘blue ocean’ in the world”, the billionaire believes. “I cannot think of another industry like this without any serious competition”.

The mission of Digital Finance International is implementing digital technology and Big Data science in order to ensure global financial availability and to develop attractive financial products and services for customers who are not happy with the service they currently receive from traditional financial institutions. The company is focused on the developing markets of Russia, countries of the CIS, Asia and the Balkans.

In 2015, Finstar disclosed its detailed investment plan. According to the declared strategy, it planned to invest over USD 150 million into R&D of portfolio companies involved in providing financial services, including improvement of payment systems, lending risk management, online marketing and data processing. R&D (research and development) is an area of corporate activity aimed at offering unique and innovative solutions for products. In his interview with RBC Oleg Boyko confirmed that the investment plan had been successfully implemented.

Essential facts about Oleg Boyko

In his interviews Oleg Boyko has said about being interested in tackling complex challenges. He started in the 1980s with a retail establishment selling computer hardware and software, and gradually shifted his focus into the financial sector.

Oleg Boyko is a billionaire who believes that you need to follow certain rules when you invest. According to the businessman, the core principle is to invest into areas you know well, which is mandatory for success. For example, if an investor has experience in the food industry, the funds should be directed into companies of this sector.

The businessman is a major contributor to philanthropic work. In 2006, just before the Turin Olympics, he founded the Parasport Foundation, whose aim is not only to help paralympic teams and to develop the paralympic movement, but also to provide assistance to para athletes all over the world. Besides, the foundation promotes sports among physically challenged people and takes part in designing equipment for rehabilitation of disabled and injured people. In 2015 billionaire Oleg Boyko became a member of the IWAS development committee, an iInternational sports federation which organizes international competitions for para athletes.

This year’s initiative of Oleg Boyko’s Finstar is to take part in the  Digital Partnership International Convention. The businessman has an ongoing interest in projects helping gifted people prove themselves: “To build a high-tech business, you need to find outstanding talents that are scattered across the globe”. He also says that supporting young talents is Finstar’s social mission, which is exactly why the company became the Convention’s general sponsor.

The award was given to 28 companies and four pre-seed projects. Oleg Boyko attended the award ceremony and congratulated the winners: “We carefully studied the projects and I saw great potential in many of them. I therefore wish you perseverance, resolve and consistency in pursuing your goal”. The winner in the FinTech nomination was SweetCard with its eponymous platform of targeted offerings designed as personal Stories in the mobile banking app.

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