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Russia’s Rambler Drops Push for Criminal Case Against Web Server Nginx

Russian internet giant will request police refrain from pursuing Nginx and Rambler former employees.

State-owned lender Sberbank owns 46.5% of Rambler.

Russia's Rambler media group said Monday it will stop trying to have a criminal case brought against web server Nginx, which was developed by former Rambler employees.

Last week, Nginx's offices in Moscow were searched following a complaint by Lynwood Investments, a company acting on behalf of Rambler.

Rambler said that it owned the rights to Nginx, as the service was developed by two employees of the firm at the time: Igor Sysoev and Maxim Konovalov.

Sysoev has previously been cited in Russian media reports as saying that his development of Nginx was never part of his responsibilities as a Rambler employee.

Russian state lender Sberbank, which owns 46.5% of Rambler, criticized Rambler for its pursuit of Nginx and called an extraordinary meeting of Rambler’s board of directors on Monday.

The board said in a statement after the meeting that it had asked Rambler’s management team to request Russian law enforcement agencies cease pursuit of the criminal case, and begin talks with Nginx and with F5, a U.S. firm that bought Nginx in March for $670 million.

"We will do our utmost to ensure that this situation is resolved through negotiations, with the involvement of all parties," the statement quoted Rambler board chairman and Sberbank first deputy chief executive Lev Khasis as saying.

Rambler’s change of approach came as dozens of former senior employees at the firm published an open letter criticizing Rambler. 

The letter states: “We consider the recent events ... a monstrous violation of professional ethics and copyright … Why is Rambler turning from a leading global internet company into a corporate raider? We are very ashamed of Rambler today.”

Reuters contributed reporting to this article.

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