Prokhorov Vows to Sue Potanin

Mikhail Prokhorov will file a lawsuit against his former business partner, Vladimir Potanin, to defend his business reputation, Prokhorov's Onexim Group said Monday.

Igor Petrov, a spokesman for Onexim Group, said Prokhorov's lawyers were working on the issue and that he would go to a Moscow court as a private individual because of an interview with Potanin that was published Wednesday in The Moscow Times.

Prokhorov and Potanin have been dividing their $30 billion in joint assets, including the world's biggest nickel producer, Norilsk Nickel, since early 2007.

"It came as a revelation that such a prominent businessman would do something like that, breaking all our previous agreements," Potanin said in the interview. "Prokhorov had promised Usmanov and me to sell us Norilsk and buy Polyus, but he avoided doing this. A businessman of such a level should be very coherent and predictable, not be a ... Zhirinovsky in business," Potanin said.

A source in Onexim would not rule out that "the question of monetary compensation would not be principal, and Prokhorov would be satisfied with a refutation and apology from Potanin."

The press office at Potanin's investment company Interros said Monday that it "did not support the practice of businessmen making loud statements directed at one another through the media, especially about legal and economic questions," and that it had not received any documents related to the matter.