Navalny Hit With 3rd Case
Investigators have accused Navalny of stealing 55 million rubles from a foreign company.
Published: December 26, 2012 (Issue # 1741)
MOSCOW Ś Aáthird criminal investigation was opened against opposition leader andáanti-corruption lawyer Alexei Navalny onáMonday, with theáInvestigative Committee claiming he stole money fromáa political party iná2007.
Theácommittee said ináa statement that Allekt, aácompany headed byáNavalny iná2007, had received 100 million rubles ($3.3 million) fromáthe Union ofáRight Forces party foráthe provision ofáadvertising services and then transferred theáfunds toáshell companies.
ôNo document confirming theáfulfillment ofáthe conditions ofáthe contraction has been presented toáinvestigators,ö theástatement said.
Theáinvestigatorsĺ decision toáopen theácase was met with criticism fromáboth Navalny andáformer representatives ofáthe party who said they had no complaints about Navalny andáthe charges were no more than aádemonstration ofápolitical pressure. á
ôThe Investigative Committee has aáright toárequest documents that prove that theáconditions ofáthe contract with Allekt were met,ö Leonid Gozman, who iná2007 was deputy head ofáthe partyĺs federal political council, said byáphone. ôThe fact that they didnĺt do that only proves incompetence andápolitical bias.ö
Navalny, who was banned fromáleaving theácountry, called theácase absurd andásaid he was not going toácease his activity andáleave theácountry anyway. He denied any involvement ináany criminal cases brought against him andásaid his political activity was theáreason foráinvestigatorsĺ accusations.
ôIt demonstrates that total lawlessness andáa new legal reality have taken place,ö he said inácomments carried byáInterfax, referring toáthe new case against him.
According toáthe Criminal Code, anáembezzlement caseáŚ which Navalny is accused ofáŚ cannot be opened without aácomplaint fromáan affected party. ôThe Investigative Committee canĺt just violate theálaw, which means there was aácomplaint fromásomeone ináthe party,ö aásource close toáNavalny told TheáSt. Petersburg Times onácondition ofáanonymity.
ôThe same situation happened when Navalny was charged last week with fraud andámoney laundering, andáit was unknown until he was finally charged theáYves Roche company made aácomplaint toáthe Investigative Committee,ö theásource said.
OnáDec. 20, investigators accused Navalny andáhis younger brother, Oleg, ofástealing 55 million rubles ($1.8 million) fromáa foreign company.
TheáUnion ofáRight Forces ceased toábe aápolitical party iná2008 andátransformed intoáa civil movement theáfollowing year.
ôThis further criminal case against Navalny is theáfunniest one. No victims, no complaints, no Union ofáRight Forces party. But theácase is still here. Awesome,ö Ilya Yashin, Navalnyĺs colleague ináthe oppositionĺs Coordination Council, said onáTwitter.
Kirov region Governor Nikita Belykh, aáformer head ofáthe Union ofáRight Forces, declared his position onáchecks intoáNavalny andáthe party ináhis blog onáEkho Moskvyĺs website back ináOctober, when it was revealed that theáInterior Ministry had begun checks intoácorrespondence between him andáNavalny.
ôIĺm sure there werenĺt any violations. Theáparty was closed down, all financial reports were submitted toáthe Central Elections Committee andáthe Justice Department onátime. If anybody remembers what was theáattitude ofáauthorities toward theáUnion ofáRight Forces iná2007, then you may be sure that if there were any violations, they would be found back then,ö he wrote.
Navalny faces 10 years inájail foráthe Union ofáRight Forces case, as well as 10 years foráa case involving Belykh andátwo years foráthe case involving his brother. These charges, however, may not be theálast foráNavalny.
TheáInvestigative Committee announced onáDec. 18 that it was conducting checks intoáthe possible involvement ofáNavalny ináyet another case intoáthe sale ofáa distillery ináthe Kirov region.
Navalny said inácomments carried byáInterfax that criminal cases could be limited only byáinvestigatorsĺ imagination. ôThey can call any operation, made byáan anti-corruption fund or byáme, or byáany firm that I ever headed, aáfraud,ö he said.