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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Informal Probe Started Into Newsweek Attack

Police are conducting an "informal" investigation of this week's attack on the Moscow bureau of Newsweek magazine, a police official said.

Alexander Ilyin, acting head of the criminal investigation department for the area where the bureau is located said Friday that since Newsweek staff had filed no formal complaint with his department, police could only look into the circumstances unofficially.

"Nothing terrible has happened, anyway," Ilyin said.

Three armed men Wednesday hijacked the Newsweek car and demanded protection money from bureau staff. The men left after Newsweek translator Vladimir Sverdlov said he did not mind their gang "protecting" the bureau.

Sverdlov said Friday he did not believe the racketeers would return. "I am absolutely positive they won't," he said. "It was a mistake."

The men had apparently mistakenly believed that Newsweek was a business venture that would pay protection money as many Moscow businesses do.

Sverdlov said the staff did not file a complaint with the local police because acting bureau chief Andrew Nagorski had decided to let Newsweek's head office in New York handle the matter.

The Newsweek translator said the bureau received a call from the Russian Foreign Ministry this morning confirming that the ministry was following the situation.

The Moscow Police Organized Crime Department is also conducting an investigation, department spokeswoman Anna Boldyreva said Friday.