OCCRP Concerned by FSB Raid on IStories Editor Roman Anin’s Moscow Apartment
The Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP) is seriously concerned by an ongoing raid on the Moscow apartment of Roman Anin, the editor in chief of IStories, by Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB).
Anin is one of the best journalists in the world and has led numerous groundbreaking investigations into organized crime and corruption in Russia. Last year he founded IStories, an OCCRP member center that has quickly become one of the country’s leading investigative media outlets. He was a 2019 Knight Fellow at Stanford University, and won last year’s ICFJ Knight Trailblazer Award.
Anin’s attorney said the search was due to an alleged violation of Russia's Criminal Code related to the "inviolability of private life."
This means it may be linked to a 2016 story Anin published in Novaya Gazeta, the Russian newspaper where he used to work. That story concerned Igor Sechin, a former deputy prime minister and now the head of the state-controlled oil giant Rosneft. It connected Sechin with a luxurious mega-yacht, the St. Princess Olga.
Sechin had previously sued Novaya Gazeta, claiming that the story harmed his reputation. He won the case, forcing the outlet to add a rebuttal to the story.
Still, Anin and his colleagues did not know until today that there was an open criminal case against him for alleged privacy violations, apparently related to a separate suit filed by Sechin’s wife. This is a serious charge that can carry a punishment of up to four years in prison. His lawyer was told the case was opened in 2016, and re-opened on March 24, less than two weeks after Anin published an investigation into an FSB boss’s links to the criminal underworld.
OCCRP Publisher Drew Sullivan said there was no basis for a criminal case against Anin.
“This is another step in the ongoing squeeze on the remaining independent media in Russia by the authorities,” he said. “Roman is truly an independent voice whose work serves the people of Russia.
“We are watching the situation closely.”
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