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26 Oct, 2022 17:35

Ex-Russian presidential candidate faces 15 years in extortion case – TASS

Ksenia Sobchak reportedly left the country before she could be questioned
Ex-Russian presidential candidate faces 15 years in extortion case – TASS

Ksenia Sobchak, a former Russian presidential candidate, prominent opposition figure and broadcaster, is facing a 15-year jail sentence in an extortion case, TASS news agency reported on Wednesday. 

Meanwhile, her house near Moscow has been searched amid an ongoing criminal investigation, RT’s sources have disclosed.

Sobchak is believed to have fled the country the day before, traveling to Lithuania through Belarus, according to law enforcement officials, who claimed they had an order for her arrest.

The news comes the day after police arrested the commercial director of Sobchak’s 'Ostorozhno Media' (Beware Media) group, Kirill Sukhanov. His detention was reportedly related to an investigation dealing with extortion. 

On Wednesday, the authorities also detained the former editor-in-chief of Tatler Russia magazine, Arian Romanovsky. He has been charged with large-scale extortion, which also carries a maximum prison sentence of up to 15 years.

Law enforcement officials noted that the search conducted at Sobchak’s villa outside Moscow on Wednesday was also part of the investigation, and that she is a suspect in the criminal case and has also been charged with large-scale extortion.

Sobchak herself has yet to confirm or deny having fled Russia, although she did acknowledge the arrest of Sukhanov, claiming it was part of a pressure campaign against Russian journalists.

According to sources cited by RIA News agency, the investigation is part of a crackdown by the Russian Ministry of Internal Affairs on owners and administrators of Telegram channels that have reportedly published fake information about business leaders and high-ranking officials, and have demanded money for deleting such posts.

Ksenia Sobchak is the daughter of the late St. Petersburg mayor Anatoly Sobchak, who was considered to be Russian President Vladimir Putin’s political mentor. The journalist and former reality TV host has become one of the most prominent figures of the liberal Russian opposition and ran against Putin for the presidency in 2018, winning 1.7% of the vote.

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