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Facebook sued by Russian firm linked to woman charged by U.S. prosecutors

FILE PHOTO: Silhouettes of mobile users are seen next to a screen projection of Facebook logo in this picture illustration taken March 28, 2018. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration/File Photo

(Reuters) – A Russian company whose accountant was charged by federal prosecutors for attempting to meddle in U.S. elections sued Facebook Inc (FB.O) on Tuesday, claiming it is a legitimate news firm and its Facebook account should be restored.

The Federal Agency of News LLC, known as FAN, and its sole shareholder, Evgeniy Zubarev, filed the lawsuit in the federal court in the Northern District of California, seeking damages and an injunction to prevent Facebook from blocking its account.

Facebook deleted the company’s account in April as it purged pages and accounts associated with the St. Petersburg-based Internet Research Agency, which was indicted by Special Counsel Robert Mueller earlier this year for interfering in the 2016 U.S. election.

FAN and Zubarev said they were improperly swept up in Facebook’s purge.

Facebook did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the lawsuit.

“FAN is an independent, authentic and legitimate news agency which publishes reports that are relevant and of interest to the general public,” the company said in the lawsuit.

Peter Carr, a spokesman for Mueller, declined to comment.

(The story corrects the headline and first paragraph to show the woman was charged by U.S. government, not U.S. special counsel)

Reporting by Nathan Layne and Jonathan Stempel in New York; editing by Richard Chang

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