MOSCOW (AP) — Russian authorities took a prominent investigative journalist in for questioning after searching his apartment, and the news website he works for said the actions were likely connected to a story about one of President Vladimir Putin’s closest associates.
Roman Anin, chief editor of the Vazhnikh Istorii website, is considered a witness in a criminal case for violation of privacy. Anin’s lawyer, Anna Stavitskaya, told Russian news agencies on Saturday that Anin refused to answer questions and was released but is to be interviewed again on Monday.
Vazhnikh Istorii said the questioning likely involved a 2016 story Anin wrote for the independent newspaper Novaya Gazeta that alleged a lavish super-yacht belonged to Igor Sechin, head of Russian state oil company Rosneft.
Novaya Gazeta was ordered to retract the story as a result of a civil court case, but a criminal case in the matter has been pending for years.
Rosneft is Russia’s second-largest state-controlled company, reporting $79.6 billion in revenue in 2020. Oil exports are key to Russia’s economy, and Sechin’s position gives him considerable influence.
He was a deputy prime minister under Putin before taking the helm at Rosneft.