Monday, July 21, 2014

Voice of Russia closes Washington bureau

Facing legal problems, the Russian government-funded radio network - the Voice of Russia - has fired its Washington bureau staff and closed the office.

The shutdown happened July 14, amid allegations of tax fraud and claims of racial discrimination at the network.

Aleksey Iazlovskiy, the head of the VOR's US operations, pleaded guilty last year to tax fraud and will be sentenced later this year.

VOR's employment practices also have attracted attention from the IRS and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

The IRS is investigating whether VOR used contractors alongside full-time, salaried employees to skirt payroll taxes. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission took an interest in VOR after several former
staffers claimed they were fired because of their race.

The employees have filed a lawsuit against International TV Services, VOR's contract manager in the United States.

Some suspect Voice of Russia will quickly return to the US through a different management company without the legal troubles.

Earlier this year, the Russians stopped Voice of America broadcasting in Moscow on AM radio.