ST. PETERSBURG, May 31 (RAPSI, Mikhail Telekhov) – A court in St. Petersburg will review six lawsuits filed by Russian billionaire Yevgeny Prigozhin against Yandex seeking to delete information about him in accordance with the law, RAPSI learned in the court chancellery for civil cases on Tuesday.

The law on penalties for refusal of search engines to delete links to unreliable information sources at the request of individuals took effect on January 1, 2016.

This law obligates companies providing Internet search engine services to delete links to unlawful, unreliable and irrelevant information about a person from the search results if the person in question files a claim with the company. 

However, this does not include information about the events related to criminal offenses with a valid statute of limitation, or information about the crimes for which sentences have not been overturned or served.

Under the bill, individuals would face fines of up to 50,000 rubles ($702) for groundless refusal to delete links. Corporations would pay fines ranging from 80,000 ($1,100) to 100,000 rubles ($1,400).

“Such claim may be filed only for the search query that involves a person’s surname, name and patronymic. This procedure is not applied to all search queries. The claim may be filed only by the person who is searched for,” Yandex representatives told RAPSI.

According to defendants, Prigozhin asked them to delete links to information about him, but his claims were dismissed. “We dismiss a lot of claims. We can’t verify whether the information about a person is true or false, whether it violates law or not. We are not a court,” Yandex representatives explained.

Prigozhin has filed six lawsuits against Yandex with the Kuybyshev District Court, correlating to each claim filed with Yandex. PR and advertisement department of the company “Concord Catering”, belonging to Prigozhin, refused to give comments.

Preliminary hearings will start on June 1.

Yevgeny Prigozhin is the owner of “Concord Catering”, “Concord-M” companies as well as “Kupetz Eliseevs Food Hall” and “Museum of chocolate”.

Last week tuple of two of Prigozhin’s automobiles were stopped by traffic police and the Federal Security Service for the use of state symbols and special sound signals. Protocols on administrative violations have been drawn up against the guard-drivers.