Officers Investigate Reporter

Officers Investigate Reporter

Published: February 13, 2013 (Issue # 1746)

Moscow — The Investigative Committee opened a probe against Novaya Gazeta reporter Irek Murtazin, claiming that he might have revealed secret details of the investigation against opposition leader Alexei Navalny and his brother Oleg, the committee’s spokesman, Vladimir Markin, said Monday.

In an article published last week, Murtazin posted scans of the allegedly classified documents, including a complaint by cosmetics maker Yves Rocher against Glavnoye Podpisnoye Agentstvo, a company linked to the brothers. The article triggered a boycott by bloggers and activists against Yves Rocher because of what they perceive as the company’s participation in political repression against the opposition leader.

“Only a limited number of participants in the trial — who had been warned that disclosure of criminal case materials is forbidden by law — had access to those documents,” Markin said.

Novaya Gazeta editor-in-chief Dmitry Muratov rejected the allegations.

“We didn’t disclose any state secrets. We don’t know any secrets. … I know that the newspaper was acting in line with the law,” he told Interfax.

Murtazin echoed the thought, saying he could not have disclosed any secrets connected with the investigation, since he was not involved in the criminal case.

“I didn’t sign a non-disclosure agreement, and the Mass Media Law gives me the right not to disclose the sources of information,” he said in comments posted on Novaya Gazeta’s website.

Muratov also said his publication was ready to cooperate with investigators.

“Apparently, those who organized the smear campaign against the foreign company are pursuing the goal of forcing the businessmen to withdraw their claim,” said Markin of the Investigative Committee.

Investigators opened the case against Navalny and his brother in December on charges of large-scale fraud and money laundering.

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