Russian official says statement on railway chief dismissal was hoax

MOSCOW Wed Jun 19, 2013 3:16pm EDT

Russia's President Vladimir Putin meets with CEO of Russian Railways Vladimir Yakunin (L), Deputy Prime Minister Arkady Dvorkovich (2nd L) and Transport Minister Maxim Sokolov (R) inside a train in Moscow October 19, 2012. REUTERS/Alexsey Druginyn/RIA Novosti/Pool

Russia's President Vladimir Putin meets with CEO of Russian Railways Vladimir Yakunin (L), Deputy Prime Minister Arkady Dvorkovich (2nd L) and Transport Minister Maxim Sokolov (R) inside a train in Moscow October 19, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Alexsey Druginyn/RIA Novosti/Pool

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MOSCOW (Reuters) - A statement announcing that Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev had dismissed Russian Railways chief Vladimir Yakunin was a hoax, Medvedev's spokeswoman Natalya Timakova said on Wednesday.

Timakova said the statement distributed to media outlets was made to look as if it had been sent by the government press service.

A Thomson Reuters security expert confirmed that the emailed announcement was an imitation that did originate from Russia, but not from the government press service.

(Reporting by Alexei Anishchuk Writing by Steve Gutterman; Editing by Anthony Barker, Toni Reinhold)

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