Police arrest Kremlin propagandist (1)
The police arrested 53-year-old Aleksandr Kornilov on Tuesday. Kornilov runs a non-profit that promotes the Russian government’s view of world events. His activities have been followed by Estonia’s Internal Security Service for some time. Kornilov was arrested on suspicion of tax fraud.
As daily Eesti Päevaleht wrote on Wednesday morning, the Tax and Customs Board suspects Kornilov of having forged documents and submitting misleading information about his non-profit organization, MTÜ Altmedia. Kornilov was arrested along with three other suspects, and the police also conducted searches of their premises.
The investigation preceding the arrest was started in autumn last year, when it turned out that Kornilov as well as the non-profit’s manager, Irina Kalabina, had transferred funds out of Altmedia without paying the required tax.
The Tax and Customs Board submitted an application in September 2015 to seize Altmedia’s accounts, as the official in charge had reason to suspect that Kornilov was manipulating the non-profit’s books. In total, some €50,000 were transferred out of its accounts undeclared and no tax paid on the sum. As case files state, the money reached Altmedia from sources in Russia and the Netherlands.
According to the Internal Security Service (ISS), Kornilov and his non-profit promote Kremlin propaganda in Estonia. The ISS’ 2014 annual review mentions him as the director of Baltnews’ Estonian venture. Baltnews started Russian-language news portals across all three Baltic States to promote a view of world events that matches the interests of the Russian government.
The review also featured an image of Kornilov receiving Vladimir Lepekhin at Tallinn’s Baltic station. Officially, Lepekhin is the director general of the Eurasian Economic Union Institute, but based on the ISS’ information actually coordinates propaganda efforts in Russia’s neighbor states.