Alexei Navalny — the prominent opposition leader and protest organizer who is also a lawyer by trade — has been hired to defend an ex-Yukos manager in court, Gazeta.ru reported Thursday.
Navalny, who specializes in corporate law, has been hired as a member of the legal team for Pavel Ivlev, an ex-Yukos official now living in the United States, the news web site reported.
Ivlev was among a group of top company mangers who fled abroad when the government cracked down on Yukos in 2003 in a case widely considered to be politically motivated.
Wanted by Russian authorities, Ivlev is still under investigation in connection with the main Yukos case that led to the imprisonment of owner Mikhail Khodorkovsky and his business partner Platon Lebedev. They both remain jailed until 2016 after being convicted in two separate fraud trials.
Ivlev, who moved to the United States in 2005, said he first met Navalny at Yale University in 2010, Gazeta.ru reported. They signed a contract back in November, but the news only became public on Thursday.
Navalny is currently working with Khodorkovsky and Lebedev's legal team on how to include a recent report from the Kremlin's human rights committee slamming the investigation into their case. So far they have not had success.