Publication: Monitor Volume: 1 Issue: 111

Yesterday, the Duma voted overwhelmingly to forward to the Prosecutor General´s Office for possible criminal prosecution the findings of an investigation of Ostankino Television and Radio company. The investigation was conducted by the State Audit Chamber at the Duma´s initiative. Among its findings: Instead of producing some programs itself, Ostankino contracted for the work to be done by private companies owned by Ostankino executives; Ostankino sold airtime through middlemen at sweetheart rates, causing Ostankino itself to lose money; the company misappropriated state funds allocated to the network; and it sold shares in itself to private investors beyond the statutory 49 percent limit, "as a result of which the state lost influence over this TV company." (5)

The chairman of the Duma´s Committee on Information Policy and Communications, Mikhail Poltoranin, initiated the action and told the chamber that Ostankino´s immediate past chairman Aleksandr Yakovlev was responsible for the company´s downfall. Both Poltoranin and Yakovlev have held top posts in mass media management in recent years. The Duma´s action against Ostankino comes on the heels of Boris Yeltsin´s decree to disband the company and transfer its assets to Public Russian TV and Radio.

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