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Authorities raid Russian state news agency TASS

February 5, 2016

Russian state news agency TASS said on Friday that the authorities were raiding its Moscow headquarters in relation to an employee’s former occupation.

“The searches that are being conducted are linked to a TASS employee,” agency spokeswoman Yekaterina Titova told AFP.

“They are related to this employee’s former workplace and are not in any way linked to TASS.”

She gave no further information.

Founded in 1904, TASS employs more than 1,500 people in Russia and abroad, and is represented in 63 countries, including North Korea.

Russian media have reported that the agency, which celebrated its 110th anniversary in September 2014, is struggling to pay salaries of employees based outside Russia because of the ruble’s drastic devaluation.

The agency announced last month it was cutting 25 percent of its staff in light of the economic crisis.

TASS — known as the Telegraph Agency of the Soviet Union between 1925 and 1991 — was renamed ITAR-TASS after the collapse of the Soviet Union.

The agency was rebranded TASS in 2014.

Dispatches from AFP concerning freedom of information, censorship and news coverage in regions where independent media is under threat.