Bure sues Russian paper

Canadian Press

2/9/2005 1:15:12 PM

MOSCOW (CP) - Pavel Bure is suing a Russian cosmetics chain after the company's free promotional paper ran an article saying the hockey star bragged about taking the virginity of tennis player Anna Kournikova, according to the Moscow Times and other local media.

Bure is suing Arbat Prestizh for 300 million rubles ($13.33 million Cdn), according to the English-language Times.

"I believe that the magazine Arbat Prestizh Telegid disseminated information inconsistent with reality (and) besmirching my honour and dignity," the Times reported Bure as saying in a filing to Moscow's Tagansky district court last week.

In addition to monetary compensation, Bure is demanding that Arbat Prestizh print a retraction and an apology in the retailer's free weekly, which ran the story in December under the title Russian Rocket In Freefall.

Arbat Prestizh declined comment on the case, saying only that "the situation remains unclear."

Bure and Kournikova, who are both Russian, have been romantically linked in the past. Five years ago, Bure denied reports he had proposed to Kournikova.

Millions of dollars in moral damages are normally not awarded in Russia "unless special interests are involved," lawyer Igor Trunov told the Times.

"Bure will have to prove moral suffering . . . resulting in such harm as health damages . . . which will be difficult," said Trunov, who specializes in such cases. "There is no legal mechanism for calculating the monetary equivalent of moral damages in Russia."

Bure, whose hockey career has been derailed by serious knee injuries, hasn't played since 2002-03 when he was a New York Ranger.