Russian police attack US web server’s Moscow office

Russian police raided the Moscow offices of a popular US-owned web server over Russian internet giant’s claim of ownership of its source code, Forbes Russia reported Thusday.

Authorities raided Nginx’s Moscow office on the basis of a copyright infringement claim by Russian oligarch Alexander Mamut’s Cyprus-registered investment vehicle Lynwood, Forbes Russia said citing a source anonymous on the web server. Mamut became part-owner of Russian research giant Rambler from the 1990s with fellow oligarch Vladimir Potanin in 2013 and bought Potanin’s stake three years later.

“We have found that Rambler Internet Holding’s exclusive right to the Nginx web server has been violated by the actions of third parties,” Rambler’s spokesperson told Forbes.

“In this regard, Rambler Internet Holding has ceded to Lynwood Investments CY Ltd the right to bring claims and lawsuits related to violations of the rights of Nginx to Lynwood Investments CY Ltd,” he continued.

Authorities estimate Rambler’s losses from the alleged copyright infringement at 51.4 million rubles ($ 820,000), according to a copy of a criminal case cited by Forbes and other news outlets.

Mamut was seen leaving a Sberbank event at noon Thursday on Thursday shortly after the raid on Nginx began, Forbes said, citing a witness. Sberbank, Russia’s largest lender, purchased 46.5% of Rambler Group in April.

Authorities briefly detained Nginx developer and former Rambler system administrator Igor Sysoev with co-founder Maxim Konovalov in the raid, Forbes reported.

Sysoev has noted that he developed Nginx in 2002 outside of his job for Rambler and that programming was not part of his job description.

Rambler was aware of Sysoyev’s independent open source project when he hired him in 2000, his former executive Igor Ashmanov who hired him told Forbes.

Nginx is one of the most popular open source web servers in the world and is used by nearly 38% of all websites. US developer F5 Servers purchased Nginx for $ 670 million in March 2019.

An earlier version of this article described Rambler as a “search engine giant”. It has been changed to “Internet giant”.


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