'Russian Facebook' founder spared jail risk in traffic probe
- Published: 7/06/2013 at 11:49 PM
- Online news:
Russian investigators on Friday named the founder of the country's most popular social networking site, Pavel Durov, as the driver of a car that allegedly ran over a policeman, but decided to halt criminal action in the case.
Policemen stand guard in front of Peter and Paul fortress in Saint-Petersburg on May 29, 2003. Russian investigators on Friday named the founder of the country's most popular social networking site, Pavel Durov, as the driver of a car that allegedly ran over a policeman, but decided to halt criminal action in the case.
Pavel Durov, 28, founded the VKontakte (In Contact) social networking site in 2006 and it now has more than 100 million active users. He is often compared to Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg.
In a bizarre incident on April 5, a car with a driver resembling him refused to stop for a traffic policeman in Saint Petersburg close to Vkontakte's offices and dragged the officer a short distance at low speed, caught on video.
Durov apparently fled Russia after the probe began, according to Russian media reports, and has not posted publicly on his personal VKontakte page since April.
His spokesman denied that he was the driver of the car.
The case was initially classified as a criminal probe and Durov was summoned for questioning by investigators but he repeatedly failed to show.
On Friday, the Saint Petersburg Investigative Committee said in a statement that it had established Durov was the driver of the BMW car after examining CC camera footage and questioning witnesses.
"Durov did not obey the legal demands of the traffic policeman to stop the vehicle and disobeying the policeman, continued to move, running over the policeman, causing contusions to his feet and scratches," it said.
However in an apparent climb-down, investigators said they did not have enough evidence to prosecute Durov for using violence against a representative of the authorities, for which he faced up to five years in jail.
Now he faces only an administrative fine of 1,000 rubles (30 dollars) for flagrantly disobeying a law enforcement officer.
Durov has run into problems with the Russian authorities over the posting of pirated material on VKontakte and said in 2011 that he had refused to delete an opposition group on security service orders.
He describes his political views as "libertarian".
About the author
- Writer: AFP
Position: News agency