Monday, July 23, 2018

One charge dropped against former head Aksana Panova

Authorities in Yekaterinburg decided last week to drop one of four charges facing former editor-in-chief of news agency Aksana Panova after investigators failed to prove that a criminal act had occurred.

The unsuccessful fraud charge brought against Panova alleged that the former editor had signed a contract with a trading house in exchange for a $3,000 bonus. Authorities claimed that Panova never intended to complete the contracted services, The Moscow Times reports.

Panova maintains the fraud charge brought against her by city Duma member Yevgeny Belonosov was politically motivated.

"It was a false denunciation by Yevgeny Belonsov, written at the governor's request," Panova said in a Facebook post, according to The Moscow Times. "We have been talking about this for a year. Finally the prosecution admitted that it was straightforward slander."

Panova currently faces three other charges for acts of extortion, embezzlement and blackmail she allegedly committed during her tenure as editor-in-chief of the news agency. She allegedly removed a total of $760,000 from's accounts illegally, and is facing a $30,000 blackmail charge.