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Details Emerge of Criminal Case Against Russia's RBC Media

Independent Russian media company RosBusinessConsulting (RBC) has been accused of defrauding shareholders of one million rubles ($15,400), the Kommersant newspaper reported Thursday.

The Russian Interior Ministry launched the criminal case in late April after claims from shareholder Alexander Panov that he was deprived of his stock following the media holding's sale of a company in which he held shares.

Panov and his business partner owed a 25-percent share in “Byte-Telecom,” a company that was part of the RBC holding until it was sold in 2014. Police estimated the alleged damage at one million rubles ($15,400), Kommersant reported, citing the police.

RBC general director Nikolai Molibog wrote Wednesday on Facebook that the sale of “Byte-Telecom” was in full compliance with the law and that the company had reported annual multi-million ruble losses for several years prior to the sale.

He also wrote that RBC Holding had sued Panov for libel last year. The court ruled in the holding's favor and ordered Panov to pay compensation.

Police are now investigating the media holding's top management following Panov's report, Russia's RNS news agency reported. Russia's Prosecutor General is also investigating two more cases of alleged fraud by the RBC holding, Kommersant reported.

RBC is owned by ONEXIM Group, a private investment fund belonging to Russian billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov. Russia's Federal Security Service (FSB) raided the ONEXIM Group’s Moscow premises in mid-April on suspicion of tax evasion. No criminal case was launched after the raid, Kommersant reported.

RBC launched Russia's only business television network in 2003. It broadcasts around the clock to over 90 million viewers in Russia, Europe, North Africa, the Middle East and Central Asia, according to the company's website.

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