FBI looking at Murdoch operations in Russia | Reuters
The Wall Street Journal said News Corp had a majority ownership stake in News Outdoor for a decade until it sold its holdings last July.
According to the paper, the Russian firm had a colorful history. Its chief, Maxim Tkachev, was shot outside his office ten years ago. Time Magazine reported that Tkachev survived because the assailant’s gun jammed when he tried to fire a second shot.
A few months earlier, Vladimir Kanevsky, an executive at a rival firm, was shot dead in his car by a man wearing a black ski mask. The Journal said the FBI was looking into the killing of Kanevsky. Nobody was convicted in either shooting. News Outdoor later acquired some assets of the murdered man’s company.
Time also reported that News Outdoor had a close relationship with Moscow billboard entrepreneur Alexander Luzhkov, whose father, Yuri, served as mayor of the Russian capital from 1992 to last year. The magazine said that at one point, News Outdoor and Alexander Luzhkov’s firm won joint contracts for prime billboard locations. Tkachev denied to Time that the Luzhkov/News Outdoor relationship brought any favors from local authorities.
Tikhonov, the News outdoor spokesman, would not be drawn on the circumstances under which News Outdoor acquired assets previously owned by the company of the murdered executive Kanevsky, saying that News Outdoor was one of several businesses who bought the firm’s assets. He also declined to comment on why Murdoch last July sold his entire stake in News Outdoor for what most experts described as a knock-down price.