The Investigative Committee said Wednesday that anti-corruption activist Alexei Navalny had fraudulently obtained his credentials as a lawyer.
The accusation against one of Russia's most prominent opposition figures is the latest in a series of blows between Navalny and the powerful Investigative Committee. To meet the requirement of two years of legal experience, Navalny said in his application documents that he was the deputy director responsible for legal issues at Allekt, a company where he was also director, the Investigative Committee said in a statement posted on its website.
"So he named himself both director and his own deputy," the statement said. The statement goes on to say that Allekt did not even exist when Navalny says he gained legal experience there.
The Investigative Committee, which Navalny has repeatedly accused of being a political tool, was ridiculed by the anti-corruption activist in a blog post that said the allegations were old and baseless.
"So far, all these complaints have been unsuccessful because they contain a load of garbage that is instantly exposed under critical examination," Navalny said.
The alleged irregularities in Navalny's lawyer status were uncovered in an ongoing investigation into Navalny's purported involvement in the theft of timber from state-owned company KirovLes in 2009, the Investigative Committee said.
News of the latest accusation against Navalny was first made public Wednesday morning through the newly opened Twitter account of Investigative Committee spokesman Vladimir Markin.