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Is Critical Media Reason for Attacks on Russian Billionaire Prokhorov?

Dmitry Kiselyov, the notorious Kremlin propagandist, gives the camera time to zoom in on the RBC journal he has usually plucked from a circuitously list in a casual, though evidently rehearsed, gesture.

The leading essay facilities a large print of Russian President Vladimir Putin. RBC is the only Russian journal to have dedicated an entire front page to the Panama Papers revelations that have incriminated Putin’s middle round in an purported income laundering scheme.

“The Americans have helpers around the world, and Russia is no exception — people who are prepared to link Putin privately to offshore companies in whatever approach they can,” says Kiselyov. “What a delusion!”

In hindsight, Kiselyov’s promote on the Vesti Nedeli (News Week) module on state radio now seems like the sounding of a fight drum on RBC’s billionaire owners Mikhail Prokhorov. Four days after the broadcast, while Putin was fielding questions on his annual call-in show, Federal Security Service (FSB) officials and tax inspectors raided the central Moscow domicile of Prokhorov’s holding association Onexim Group. Raids were also conducted at several other businesses tranquil by Prokhorov, including his investment organisation Renaissance Capital, energy generating association Quadra and the International Financial Club (IFC) bank.

The FSB pronounced in a after matter that the raids had been conducted as partial of a rapist review into Tavrichesky Bank, that was bailed out final year by the IFC, in which Onexim has a stake. It combined that taxation law violations had been found at “a series of commercial structures” though did not mention the companies’ names.

The scope and force of the raids have set the rumor indent spinning. In Russia, such searches of companies belonging to tycoons have a history of ending in prison sentences or item grabs. The former owners of Russia’s initial eccentric radio channel NTV, Vladimir Gusinsky, was forced into exile following raids associated to reported suspicions of fraud and a antagonistic takeover of his company. And former-Yukos CEO Mikhail Khodorkovsky, once Russia’s richest man, spent some-more than a decade in jail on tax semblance and embezzlement charges.

Both organisation had breached a deal with the then-newly commissioned boss to stay out of politics. Prokhorov, however, never took any vital domestic gambles. Though he ran opposite Putin in 2012, entrance in third, it was an open tip that his had been a Kremlin-sanctioned electoral bid.

The 50-year-old billionaire entrepreneur’s usually manifest domestic guilt seems to be RBC. Aside from the Panama Papers, the news opening has reported on various issues that could be annoying to the Kremlin, including an investigation into the business interests of Kirill Shamalov, Putin’s reported son-in-law, and, some-more recently, a report claiming Putin’s supposed approach line with the Russian open had been meticulously rehearsed. With many Russian media toeing the Kremlin line, RBC’s confidant stating stands out.

“RBC is really clever and is comparatively compelled [in a coverage],” says Igor Yakovenko, the former conduct of the Union of Russian Journalists. “But in the stream desert, [RBC] provides an oasis of relatively eccentric information.”

The liberal Dozhd radio channel has cited dual misleading sources inside RBC as observant that the raids were an attempt to force Prokhorov to sell RBC Media holding — the media organisation that includes the flagship RBC journal and television station.

But if asked by the Kremlin, Prokhorov would give adult RBC, usually as he did his fledgling domestic career, but most resistance, another source informed with the situation told The Moscow Times. “Prokhorov has due giving [RBC] divided a hundred times,” says the source, who asked not to be identified. “But [the Kremlin] says: ‘No,’ keep it, we don’t have the cash, and we can’t be worried with it.”

A source tighten to RBC’s top government told The Moscow Times there was no denote there were any critical skeleton to sell. The Kremlin this week denied all impasse in the raids or attempts to influence RBC’s editorial policy.

Just Business?

That the raids competence be connected to other business interests seems to be upheld by several broadcasts by the privately-owned radio channel REN-TV in the days preceding the searches. REN-TV purported Prokhorov was regulating Quadra — in which Prokhorov has a majority share — to syphon supports offshore. The broadcast also indicted Prokhorov’s RBC of airing other people’s unwashed washing while branch a blind eye to its owner’s offshore activities, in an sly gash at the newspaper’s coverage of the Panama Papers and possible poke at Prokhorov’s reason over Quadra.

As Russia’s economy flounders, opposition entrepreneurs are contracting some-more assertive strategy to get their hands on a timorous pie. Late final week, a Moscow justice enlarged the house detain of Domodedovo Airport owners Dmitry Kamenshchik in what could be an attempt to force him to cede control of his business to a opposition party.

Prokhorov’s stream net value is $8.2 billion, creation him Russia’s 13th richest businessman, according to Forbes magazine. A former jeans stone-washing businessman who gifted a meteoric climb to wealth in the privatization epoch of the 1990s, he now owns stakes in some of Russia’s largest companies, including steel giants Uralkali and RusAl — creation him a lucrative target.

Meanwhile, it is still misleading how the storm distracted around Prokhorov has impacted the RBC newsroom. The Reuters news group reported on Thursday that RBC editor-in-chief Elizaveta Osetinskaya was withdrawal on a sabbatical 4 months progressing than planned, in a warn pierce that, according to an misleading source, could be associated to vigour from a Kremlin.

But RBC Media’s offices have not been searched and the RBC source told The Moscow Times there have been no approach attempts to interfere with editorial policy.

“With no instructions to the contrary, we continue to do what we’ve always done,” the source said.

Article source: http://www.themoscowtimes.com/article/566817.html

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