Legal Case of the Week: Investigative journalist Roman Anin questioned, his home searched

Week-ending 9 April 2021

On 9 April FSB agents searched the Moscow home of Roman Anin, a prominent investigative journalist and chief editor of Istories, an online publication. Anin was taken for interrogation to the Investigative Committee in connection with inquiries related to ‘violation of privacy by abusing his professional functions.’ It is believed the actions may be related to a 2016 defamation suit won by Rosneft CEO Igor Sechin about reports he was linked to a $100m luxury yacht.


RFE/RL, 9 April 2021: Russian security agents have searched the home of one of the country’s most prominent investigative journalists and brought him in for interrogation, in what his lawyer and editorial team said was related to coverage of one of Russia’s most powerful men. After agents from the Federal Security Service (FSB) searched his Moscow apartment on April 9, Istories editor-in-chief Roman Anin was taken to the Investigative Committee in connection with enquiries into “violation of privacy by abusing his professional functions,” his lawyer Anna Stavitskaya said. On its Telegram channel,Istories reported that the last thing they heard from Anin was that the search may be related to a previous case opened in 2016, after a report by the Novaya Gazeta newspaper suggested that state-owned oil giant Rosneft CEO Igor Sechin had links to a yacht valued at $100 million. Anin had previously worked for Novaya Gazeta, the most prominent opposition newspaper. The newspaper was found guilty of defamation after Sechin filed a complaint about the report. In a statement on April 9, Novaya Gazeta’s editorial board said the case was reopened in March after Rosneft filed a claim against Istories.

The Guardian, 10 April 2021: Russian police have briefly detained and interrogated Roman Anin, one of the country’s leading investigative journalists, in a criminal probe suspected to be motivated by revenge for his investigations into the Kremlin elite. Investigators on Friday searched Anin’s Moscow apartment and seized telephones and other electronic equipment and documents. Anin, the founder of iStories and one of the Russian reporters who worked on the Panama Papers investigations, was then taken to a police station for questioning. He refused to answer questions. invoking his right not to testify. He has been summoned for questioning again on Monday. The case is linked to Anin’s 2016 investigation into a close ally of Vladimir Putin, whose wife, he wrote, appeared to be using a super-yacht estimated to cost more than $100m (£73m). Novaya Gazeta, the newspaper that published the article titled “The secret of Princess Olga”, was successfully sued in a Russian court by Rosneft head Igor Sechin, who said the article had harmed his reputation.

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