Russian Premier’s Office Says Railways CEO Dismissal Was Fake

Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev’s spokeswoman said a statement purportedly sent from the government’s press service about the dismissal of the country’s railways chief, Vladimir Yakunin, was bogus.

“The information distributed about the dismissal of Yakunin was faked to look like an official statement from the press service,” Natalya Timakova, Medvedev’s spokeswoman, said on a call with reporters after the incident.

The Federal Security Service, or FSB, and the Federal Guard Service, or FSO, are investigating the incident to find out who is responsible, Timakova said.

The fake statement “contains a grammatical error and was sent from an e-mail address falsified to look like an official distribution from the government’s press service,” she said.

Yakunin, 64, called the incident a “provocation” in a text message to Bloomberg. The statement was sent to news media on the eve of the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum.

Yakunin is scheduled to participate in a signing ceremony attended by President Vladimir Putin tomorrow on creating a joint logistic company with Belarus and Kazakhstan. Russian Railways will contribute its 50 percent stake in rail freight carrier OAO Transcontainer to the venture, three people with knowledge of the plan said in May, asking not to be identified because the plans aren’t public.

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