Russia Rejects Report Linking Journalist Killings To Putin Ally

Russia rejects report linking journalist killings to Putin ally

Russian investigators on Friday dismissed a report linking the murders of three Russian journalists in the Central Africa Republic last year to an ally of President Vladimir Putin, insisting the trio died in a robbery

Moscow, (Pakistan Point News - 11th Jan, 2019 ) :Russian investigators on Friday dismissed a report linking the murders of three Russian journalists in the Central Africa Republic last year to an ally of President Vladimir Putin, insisting the trio died in a robbery.

Reporter Orkhan Dzhemal, director Alexander Rastorguyev and cameraman Kirill Radchenko were killed in July last year while reporting on Russian mercenaries in the war-torn country.

Mikhail Khodorkovsky, the exiled former oligarch and Kremlin critic, was funding their project.

A Khodorkovsky-backed investigation released late Thursday said it had evidence the journalists were being tracked by a Central African gendarme with links to high-ranked Russian officials in the country.

Khodorkovky's press secretary Maxim Dbar told AFP that the investigation, presented to media in London Thursday, found the group's driver used a fake name and reported to the gendarme.

Dbar said the reporters were introduced to the driver by a journalist who works for a news agency owned by Russian businessman Evgeny Prigozhin.

Prigozhin is a Putin ally who -- according to various media reports -- funds the private military company Wagner that the three men were investigating when they were killed.

In a statement, Russia's Investigative Committee said the report was an attempt by Khodorkovsky's media project to "justify" sending the journalists on such a dangerous trip without the necessary safety measures.

It reiterated investigators' belief that the journalists were killed after resisting armed robbers.