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 — A third criminal investigation was opened against opposition leader and anti-corruption lawyer Alexei Navalny on Monday, with the Investigative Committee claiming he stole money from a political party in 2007.
The committee said in a statement that Allekt, a company headed by Navalny in 2007, had received 100 million rubles ($3.3 million) from the Union of Right Forces party for the provision of advertising services and then transferred the funds to shell companies.
“No document confirming the fulfillment of the conditions of the contraction has been presented to investigators,” the statement said.
The investigators’ decision to open the case was met with criticism from both Navalny and former representatives of the party who said they had no complaints about Navalny and the charges were no more than a demonstration of political pressure.
“The Investigative Committee has a right to request documents that prove that the conditions of the contract with Allekt were met,” Leonid Gozman, who in 2007 was deputy head of the party’s federal political council, said by phone. “The fact that they didn’t do that only proves incompetence and political bias.”
Navalny, who was banned from leaving the country, called the case absurd and said he was not going to cease his activity and leave the country anyway. He denied any involvement in any criminal cases brought against him and said his political activity was the reason for investigators’ accusations.
“It demonstrates that total lawlessness and a new legal reality have taken place,” he said in comments carried by Interfax, referring to the new case against him.
According to the Criminal Code, an embezzlement case — which Navalny is accused of — cannot be opened without a complaint from an affected party. “The Investigative Committee can’t just violate the law, which means there was a complaint from someone in the party,” a source close to Navalny told The St. Petersburg Times on condition of anonymity.
“The same situation happened when Navalny was charged last week with fraud and money laundering, and it was unknown until he was finally charged the Yves Roche company made a complaint to the Investigative Committee,” the source said.
On Dec. 20, investigators accused Navalny and his younger brother, Oleg, of stealing 55 million rubles ($1.8 million) from a foreign company.
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