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Newsweek’s parent company IBT Media pleaded not guilty in New York on Thursday to charges that it manipulated finances in an effort to keep the magazine operational.
The charges from the Manhattan District Attorney’s office include fraud, money laundering and falsifying records, and detail a scheme to borrow money for computer equipment that was then funneled to Newsweek.
The indictment accuses two individuals — William Anderson, the CEO of Christian Media Corporation, and Etienne Uzac, the co-owner and chairman of IBT Media — of having hatched a fraudulent plan that included an auditor named Karen Smith, whom the indictment said authorities could find no evidence of.
The lawsuit also names Christian Media Corporation, which allegedly tried to obtain loans for company servers, and Oikos Networks, the firm used to acquire the servers.
Uzac defended himself in an a post to his Twitter account.
“I believe this very aggressive investigation is fueled by retaliation against me and my news media company for having uncovered that that Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. declined to press charges against Harvey Weinstein after his attorney paid Vance money,” Uzac wrote.
Marc Agnifilo, a lawyer for Uzac, said his client denies the allegations and that the loan in question had been paid back.
A call to Anderson’s lawyer was not immediately returned.
Newsweek laid off staff this earlier year, including an editor who oversaw an investigation into why the news company’s servers had been seized by the federal officials. IBT Media has since spun off Newsweek into a separate company.
The Wall Street Journal was first to report the news of the charges.