Bastrykin Denies 'Crude Lie'

Investigative Committee head Alexander Bastrykin has denied accusations that he is running an illegal business in the Czech Republic.

In an interview published Wednesday in the Argumenty i Fakty weekly, Bastrykin called a report, published last week in Moskovsky Komsomolets about a Prague-based real estate business he purportedly owns, a "crude lie that deceives the reader."

Neither he nor any members of his family has ever run businesses in Russia or abroad, Bastrykin told the newspaper.

In the June 2 report, muckraking journalist and State Duma Deputy Alexander Khinshtein claimed that Bastrykin is registered as co-owner of a Czech company called LAW Bohemia, thus putting him in violation of Russian law.

Published along with the article was a scanned copy of a trade registry entry from the Prague City Court, which listed Alexander Bastrykin and Olga Alexandrova as the company's co-owners and with the same St. Petersburg address.

Alexandrova is Bastrykin's wife and the mother of his two children, Khinshtein wrote.

Khinshtein on Wednesday defended his report and suggested that Bastrykin either sue him or tender his resignation.

"Alexander Ivanovich [Bastrykin] is a lawyer who knows the two real mechanisms of defending your honor and facts," Khinshtein said, Interfax reported.

Khinshtein said it was "unclear" to him why Bastrykin "stayed quiet for a week" after the report was published.

A semiautonomous body created last year, the Investigative Committee has repeatedly clashed with the Prosecutor General's Office, under whose auspices the committee formally operates.

Bastrykin has publicly sparred with Prosecutor General Yury Chaika over a number of high-profile cases in a standoff that many believe is closely connected with a battle for influence between powerful, competing clans close to Prime Minister Vladimir Putin.