The Investigative Committee has opened a third criminal case against opposition leader Alexei Navalny, this time for his alleged involvement in the embezzlement of money from the Union of Right Forces party in 2007, the committee said on its website Monday.
The allegations, which came to light as part of the investigation into the KirovLes case that Navalny is accused in, concern the company Allekt, which Navalny headed at the time of the reported embezzlement. Investigators say the company concluded a contract with the Union of Right Forces in 2007 for the provision of advertising services and received about 100 million rubles for the deal. But the money wound up in the accounts of fly-by-night companies, police say, while the conditions of the contract were never met.
A criminal case has been opened on charges of fraud, which carries a maximum punishment of 10 years in prison.
Navalny commented on Allekt's activities back in October, when Alexei Ivonin, the head of the Kirov regional legislature, asked the Interior Ministry to look into the legality of the company's activities in connection with the KirovLes case. At that time, Navalny said that his company received only a 5 percent commission from the Union of Right Forces, and a report was submitted to the Central Elections Commission on the matter, Lenta.ru said. The commission did not find any violations by the company.
In addition to the latest set of charges, the opposition leader stands accused in two other criminal cases: the case of KirovLes (in which he is accused of organizing a scam that cost the budget of the Kirov region 16 million rubles) and another fraud case in which Navalny and his brother are alleged to have organized a scheme for the theft and laundering of 55 million rubles.
Navalny himself says that he is not involved in any of the criminal cases and that all the charges stem from his political activities.
"Holy cow … yet another case has been opened against me. Investigative Committee, what are you doing? … Enough already," Navalny wrote on Twitter after learning of the latest charges.