Investigators arrived at the offices of opposition leader Alexei Navalny's Foundation to Fight Corruption and began seizing documents Tuesday evening, a spokeswoman for the organization said on Twitter.
"A representative of the main branch of the Investigative Committee arrived and presented us with some paper about seizing documents. We don't know as part of which [criminal] case," Anna Veduta told Interfax.
The news had many speculating that the search was linked to Navalny's bid to run for mayor, as the premises being searched also serve as his campaign headquarters. Navalny announced Monday that he had collected about 85 of the required 110 signatures from municipal deputies to officially run, Itar-Tass reported.
"There's the sense that they want to scare off our volunteers at the headquarters. But that won't happen," Veduta said.
As of Tuesday evening, the Investigative Committee had not released a statement about the searches.
Navalny is seeking to run as a candidate from the RPR-Parnas liberal opposition party, but he could be prevented from running if convicted on embezzlement charges he faces in a trial in Kirov. The verdict in that case is due July 18.
Many see that trial — over stealing timber from a state-owned company in 2009 — as politically motivated, and some say it is an attempt to prevent him from fulfilling his political ambitions.
Prosecutors asked the judge to sentence him to six years in prison, and a conviction would prevent him from running for public office in the future.
Navalny has denied the charges and attributed two cases against him — one on embezzlement charges, another on fraud — to his political activity and vocal opposition to President Vladimir Putin's rule.