Get the latest updates as we post them — right on your browser

. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Ad Agency Searched for Fake Discs

Police officers searched the Moscow offices of U.S.-owned advertising agency BBDO on Thursday, disrupting work for several hours.

The search at the premises of one of the country's five largest advertising companies stretched well into the evening, Kommersant reported Friday.

Police officers entered the company's Tverskaya-Yamskaya office at noon and workers were asked to leave in a message claiming that a fire had broken out, the newspaper reported.

Turkhan Makhmudov, BBDO's director of corporate strategy and development, said normal work had resumed Friday after the searches.

"Officers were checking for software licenses," he said, adding that it would "take a few days to produce the licenses because they are in the possession of the global holding, Omnicom Group, which is our parent company."

"The searches have had nothing to do with tax issues so far," Makhmudov said. "It is a check to verify the legal status of our software."

Kommersant said the Federal Tax Service had carried out checks at several advertising agencies and major broadcasters last year and that Thursday's raid could be "an echo of those checks."

Makhmudov said all the software used by the company was properly licensed, adding that all necessary documentation requested by the authorities would be handed over within the week.

He also said the search had been sanctioned by the Interior Ministry's department for the Central Administrative District. The department on Friday declined to say whether it had approved the searches. Several calls made to the Interior Ministry's economic crimes department were not answered Friday.

BBDO Russia is part of the U.S.-based Omnicom Group, a leading global communications holding that operates in more than 100 countries.

BBDO services include advertising, public relations and branding. The company's operations include BBDO Moscow, which ranks No. 6 nationwide and three media services agencies -- No.1 creative agency Instinct, OMD Media Direction, PHD and Media Instinct.

RSVP, a luxury and lifestyle PR and event management firm, also falls under the group's umbrella, as does the Pleon, a PR consultancy.