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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

NTV: Putin Allocated Money for Video Firm




President Vladimir Putin in 1995 signed an order allocating 500 million rubles (then worth about $110,000) to a firm called Russkoye Video that may have been connected to the company of the same name that lies at the heart of embezzlement charges brought against media magnate Vladimir Gusinsky, NTV television reported Sunday.


Acting as head of the St. Petersburg Committee for External Communications, Putin signed the decree allocating the city funds in September 1995, according to NTV, which is controlled by Media-MOST owner Gusinsky.


The report on NTV's political program "Itogi" showed documents to back its claim, including the decree with Putin's signature clearly visible.


The decree called for the funds to be transferred to a company called AOOT Russkoye Video for development of communications on Channel 11.


NTV anchor Yevgeny Kiselyov said it was not clear what connection there was between AOOT Russkoye Video and OOO Russkoye Video. He said the former state company is now owned by Media-MOST and runs St. Petersburg's Channel 11 television station. He also said it was unclear if the cash was transferred.


The new executive director of Channel 11 said he had never heard of the firm named in the decree aired on Itogi.


"I don't know the company AOOT Russkoye Video," said Alexei Kedrin in a telephone interview Monday.


"Never, unfortunately," he said when asked if his company had ever received 500 million rubles from the St. Petersburg government.


Both the presidential administration and the prosecutor general refused to comment on the story.


Media-MOST bought 75 percent of OOO Russkoye Video in 1997 for 25.5 million rubles. Gusinsky and two other Channel 11 officials are accused of embezzlement.