Russian billionaire Alisher Usmanov has pledged to sue Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny for accusing him of corruption.
Usmanov said Navalny had “crossed a red line,” by alleging the telecoms kingpin made a multi-million-dollar bribe to Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev.
"Navalny misleads people. His statements are slander,” Usmanov told Russia’s TASS news agency. “I’ve not paid any attention to his false declarations for a long time so as not to give him extra — but he really has crossed a red line in accusing me of committing a crime.”
Usmanov also stressed that his business is not only conducted "transparently and legally," but also pledges more than $100 million to various charities every year.
Russia’s Anti-Corruption Foundation (ACF), co-founded by Navalny in 2011, accused Medvedev in early March of channeling bribes through non-profit organizations linked to close friends.
The group alleged that Usmanov had given Medvedev a plot of land with property worth 5 billion rubles ($87.8 million) in the exclusive Russian village of Znamenskoe under the guise of a donation to the Sotsgosproekt Foundation, a charity associated with Medvedev’s former classmate Ilya Yeliseyev.
Usmanov and Medvedev have denied the claims.
Navalny’s allegations sparked anti-corruption protests across Russia, with hundreds of demonstrators detained by police.
The politician himself received 15 days jail time after being found guilty of disobeying police orders at an unsanctioned Moscow rally.