The head of Kazakhstan’s Union of Journalists, Seitkazy Matayev, was arrested on Monday over suspected theft and tax evasion.
The state anti-corruption agency detained Mr Matayev together with his son Aset Matayev, the chief executive of local news agency KazTAG. Both men are accused of defrauding the state of millions of dollars in unpaid taxes, along with embezzlement through their media assets between 2011 and 2015.
According to a statement by the anti-corruption agency, the pair could face up to 12 years in prison if found guilty.
In a separate statement, Seitkazy and Aset Matayev denied the charges against them, affirming that the allegations constitute an attack on press freedom.
Seitkazy is a particularly influential figure in Kazakhstan, having served as press secretary to the country’s president between 1991 and 1993.
This development follows a recent crackdown on local media and political activists critical of the government.