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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Prosecutor Questions NTV's Kiselyov

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NTV general director Yevgeny Kiselyov was summoned Monday to the Prosecutor General’s Office, where he said he was questioned about footage shown on his "Itogi" political news program in 1997.

The questioning of Kiselyov comes as Media-MOST head Vladimir Gusinsky is wanted on charges of fraud and faces arrest if he returns to Russia. NTV is Media-MOST’s flagship television station and has provided critical coverage of the Kremlin.

Kiselyov said he was questioned in connection with a case against MOST Security Service, which prosecutors have accused of eavesdropping. The security service was the reason given for a search at Media-MOST headquarters in May by masked federal agents.

After spending two and a half hours inside the prosecutor’s office, Kiselyov emerged to tell reporters that investigator Vladimir Danilov had been "polite and correct." The TV anchor said he had no grounds to believe that this particular interrogation was intended to exert pressure on NTV or Media-MOST.

"I am not inclined to consider the conversation that took place as having a political underpinning or as a measure to exert pressure on NTV," said Kiselyov, who was wearing makeup for the television cameras waiting at the building’s entrance.

Click here to read our special report on the Struggle for Media-MOST."Investigator Danilov was simply carrying out his duties. As far as the Prosecutor General’s Office as a whole is concerned, its leadership is trying to prove that there was at least something wrong there [in Media-MOST], which I doubt very much there was."

He said Danilov seemed not to be very happy about having to question him.

"But I have no doubt that the case itself is aimed at Mr. Gusinsky as the man who plays a significant role in public life and in the functioning of free, independent media," Kiselyov said in English.

Kiselyov said he was questioned about some hidden camera footage that was shown on "Itogi" in late 1996 and early 1997 in reports on privatization of the aluminum industry, particularly of the Krasnoyarsk Aluminum Plant.

In early 1997, "Itogi" aired a series of investigations suggesting that former Deputy Prime Minister Oleg Soskovets and former Sports Minister Shamil Tarpishchev had granted favors during the privatization of the Krasnoyarsk Aluminum Plant to Mikhail and Lev Chorny — brothers who headed the metals trading company Trans CIS Commodities. One program included a hidden camera videotape of Tarpishchev meeting in Tel Aviv with a Chorny brother and Anton Malevsky, leader of Moscow’s Izmailovsky criminal group.

"If laws in our country are observed, this [interrogation] is not a threat to me or my colleagues," Kiselyov said. "I don’t know if the people in the Kremlin who concocted this whole mess will be satisfied with my answers."

Danilov told Interfax he had no more questions for Kiselyov for the moment.