Shenanigans isn’t the word to describe what’s currently happening in Russia around music royalties. It has emerged this week that Russian police are investigating collecting society RAO, with claims that it embezzled 500m rubles (around $7.4m) by buying four buildings in Moscow and transferring their ownership to a shell company.
For its part, RAO says it legitimately sold the buildings earlier this year to invest the money in other parts of its business, according to Billboard. This comes a few weeks after RAO announced a merger with fellow collecting societies VOIS and RPS promising more transparency; after the Russian government announced plans to completely rework the country’s system of copyright royalty collections as an alternative; and after a senior RAO executive was badly beaten up in Moscow. Now the embezzlement probe.