Russian media personality Ksenia Sobchak reportedly becomes suspect in extortion case, leaves Russia

TV anchor and Russian public figure Ksenia Sobchak, who ran for the Russian Presidential Elections in 2018, has become a suspect in an extortion case; she is suspected of being involved in extortion from Russia’s state company Rostec, state-owned news agency TASS reports, citing a source in law enforcement.

According to RT’s sources, Sobchak is a figure of interest in the extortion case on an especially large scale initiated against ex-chief editor of media outlet Tatler Russia Arian Romanovsky.

At the same time, Russia’s Ministry of Interior Affairs is asking for Sobchak’s commercial director Kirill Sukhanov and Romanovsky to be arrested by court.

Both are accused of extortion on an especially large scale, state-owned news agency RIA Novosti reports. The corresponding Criminal Code article stipulates a punishment of up to 15 years of imprisonment.

“We are aware,” is how the Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov commented on the reports about Sobchak being a figure of interest in the case.

Yesterday, 25 October, Sukhanov was detained, he was brought in to the Main Investigation Department of the Moscow Interior Ministry so that investigative actions could be conducted. Sobchak called his detention “ridiculous” and an attempt to put pressure on journalists.

Media outlet RBC reports, citing a source, that the criminal case against Sukhanov is connected to receiving money for the so-called “blocks” that guaranteed that certain people and companies would not be mentioned on Ksenia Sobchak’s Telegram channels.

Earlier today, Russian media reported, citing sources, that Sobchak’s house located in the Moscow suburbs was being searched in relation to Sukhanov’s case. Furthermore, TASS and RIA Novosti report that Sobchak left Russia in the night. According to the news agencies’ sources, she entered the territory of Lithuania through Belarus, although law enforcement agents already had the investigator’s decision stating the need for her detention.

Ksenia Sobchak is the daughter of the first democratically elected Mayor of Saint Petersburg Anatoly Sobchak and Member of the Federation Council of Russia Lyudmila Narusova; she grew up in political circles. She graduated from the Moscow State Institute of International Relations, before starting a TV anchor career. Later in life, Sobchak entered politics and ran for presidency in the 2018 Presidential Elections. A polarising figure, Sobchak has been accused of working for the Kremlin by Russian opposition politicians.

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