Investigative Committee spokesman Vladimir Markin said a criminal probe for piracy undertaken by an organised group had been opened over Greenpeaces September 18 protest on a Gazprom oil rig in the Barents Sea. It should be noted that all persons who attacked the (oil) platform, regardless of their citizenship, will be brought to criminal responsibility, Markin said in a statement. The Dutch-flagged Arctic Sunrise had been monitoring the exploration activities of Gazprom since August in the hope of exposing the dangers of drilling for oil in one of the worlds great nature reserves. Russian security forces seized the global environmental lobby groups ship and its 30-member crew a day after two activists from Finland and Switzerland climbed up the side of a Gazprom platform to draw attention to its controversial work. The two were detained after Russian navy patrol boats opened warning shots at the ship. They and the entire crew were later placed under arrest and locked up in the Arctic Sunrises mess. The group says the Russian action was illegal because the Arctic Sunrise was in international waters at the time of the raid. But Markin argued that the Greenpeace ship was located in the exclusive economic zone of the Russian Federation when it was boarded by agents from Russias Federal Security Service (the main successor to the Soviet-era KGB). It was not immediately clear from Markins comments whether the investigation had been launched against just the two activists who had attempted to scale the platform or all activists on board the ship. The Arctic Sunrise was approaching the shoreline of Russias Far Northern city of Murmansk on Tuesday after being tugged from the scene of the action by a Russian border guards boat.

Russia’s Largest Retailer Magnit Raises 2013 Profitability Goal

ALEXANDER ROSLYAKOV and LYNN BERRY 2 hours ago MURMANSK, Russia (AP) Russia filed piracy charges Tuesday against Greenpeace activists who tried to climb onto an offshore drilling platform in the Arctic owned by the state-controlled gas company Gazprom. The activists are on a Greenpeace ship, the Arctic Sunrise, which was seized last week by the Russian Coast Guard and towed Tuesday into a port near Murmansk. It was unclear how many of the 30 activists on board face piracy charges, which carry a potential prison sentence of up to 15 years and a fine of 500,000 rubles (about $15,500). The Investigative Committee, Russia’s federal investigative agency, said it would question all those who participated in the protest and detain the “more active” among them. Two activists tried to climb onto the Prirazlomnaya platform on Thursday and others assisted from small inflatable boats. The Greenpeace protest was aimed at calling attention to the environmental risks of drilling for oil in Arctic waters. “When a foreign vessel full of electronic technical equipment of unknown purpose and a group of people calling themselves members of an environmental rights organization try nothing less than to take a drilling platform by storm, logical doubts arise about their intentions,” Investigative Committee spokesman Vladimir Markin said in a statement. Greenpeace ship ‘Arctic Sunrise’ is escorted by a Russian coast guard boat, in Kola Bay at the milit He said the activists posed a danger to the work of the oil platform. “Such activities not only infringe on the sovereignty of a state, but might pose a threat to the environmental security of the whole region,” Markin said. Greenpeace insists that Russia had no right under international law to board its ship. One activist told The Associated Press that the Coast Guard officers hit and kicked some activists when they stormed the vessel. The Arctic Sunrise was anchored Tuesday in a small bay near Severomorsk, the home port of Russia’s Northern Fleet, 25 kilometers (15 miles) north of Murmansk. Greenpeace said the 30 activists were from 18 countries. ___ Berry contributed reporting from Moscow. Politics & Government

Russia files piracy charges against Greenpeace

Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization as a percentage of sales will be in line with the previous years 10.6 percent, Krasnodar, southern Russia-based Magnit said today in a statement. The retailer had previously forecast a margin of 9.7 percent to 10 percent. Magnit, run and owned by billionaire Sergey Galitskiy, has the highest Ebitda margin among publicly traded peers globally, according to Sberbank CIB. The margin in the first half of 2013 was 10.1 percent of sales. The new guidance shows managements confidence that the company will continue its strong performance and accelerate it in the fourth quarter, Natalia Kolupaeva, an analyst at ZAO Raiffeisenbank in Moscow, said by phone. Sales this year will rise 29 percent to 30 percent, Magnit said today, compared with previous guidance of 27 percent to 30 percent. For 2014, the retailer forecast revenue growth of 25 percent, in line with analysts estimates compiled by Bloomberg. Magnit also said it plans capital spending of $1.7 billion to $1.8 billion next year, at least as much as in 2013. It plans to open 1,000 convenience stores, 80 hypermarkets and 350 cosmetics outlets next year. Magnit fell 1.4 percent to $62 at 9:51 a.m. in London, where the stock is traded. The company overtook X5 Retail Group NV (FIVE) in March as Russias largest retailer by sales.