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Russian Site Rambler Seeks Closure Of Criminal Case Against U.S. Tech Firm’s Moscow Unit

Rambler is a popular web portal and once was the most-visited site in Russia before losing ground to Yandex.

Rambler Group, one of Russia’s biggest online web portals, has decided to ask law enforcement bodies not to pursue a criminal case regarding its dispute with the Moscow-based unit of Nginx, a popular web server owned by a U.S. technology company.

The request was based on a decision made by Rambler’s board of directors on December 16, local media reported, citing the company’s news release.

Once the most visited Russian website, Rambler also decided to sever ties with a Cyprus company that has been representing the company’s legal interests in the conflict with Nginx.

Investigators on December 12 searched the offices of Nginx, and the homes of its founders, following a criminal complaint filed by Rambler, which is majority-owned by Russian billionaire Aleksandr Mamut and state-owned lender Sberbank.

Nginx was co-founded by Igor Sysoyev and Maksim Konovalov, both of whom had previously worked for Rambler. The two sold the company to U.S.-based F5 Networks earlier this year for $670 million.

In its complaint, Rambler claimed ownership of Nginx's web-server code because Sysoyev allegedly began to develop it while working for Rambler in the early 2000s.

"Therefore, any use of the program without the permission of Rambler Group is a violation of exclusive rights," the company previously said in a statement.

Konovalov called the Rambler claim "dumb and outright racketeering."