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Moscow court upholds fine on magazine for late disclosure of foreign funding sources

The New Times ended its printed edition in 2017 due to financial difficulties

MOSCOW, November 20. /TASS/. A Moscow court on Tuesday upheld a 22.25 million ruble (roughly $338,645) administrative fine imposed on The New Times magazine for overdue notification about foreign sources of financing.

The judge of the Moscow Tverskoi district court pronounced its ruling to uphold the decision by the original court of jurisdiction.

Addressing the court, the magazine’s Editor-in-Chief, Yevgenia Albats, said she had dedicated her professional life to the study of Stalin’s regime of terror and claimed that the fine imposed on her magazine could be viewed as "the continuation of a policy of state repression." The magazine’s lawyer, Vadim Prokhorov, asked the court to cancel "the harsh fine" due to the insignificance of the offense. "These actions did no harm, so, the punishment is disproportionate and ungrounded," he emphasized.

The prosecutor requested that Albats to refrain from politicizing the case. "I think it is wrong to look for political motives behind the court ruling. The court considered the case’s actual circumstances. The decision was taken within the procedural timeframes and is grounded," he stated.

The judicial ruling entered into force and can be challenged at a Moscow appellate court.

The fines of 22.25 million rubles and 30,000 rubles (457 US dollars) were imposed on The New Times and its editor-in-chief Yevgenia Albats, respectively, by a court ruling on October 25 on charges of failing to notify or providing late notification to relevant government agencies on sources of income (article 13.15.1 of the Russian Code of Administrative Offences).

The New Times ended its printed edition in 2017 due to financial difficulties. By that time, its circulation had narrowed down to 50,000 copies. Now, the magazine is available only in electronic format.