Masked men in uniforms raided the Moscow offices of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny and authorities charged one of his key aides with contempt of court, multiple reports said Thursday.
Footage shared by Navalny’s social media team showed the men sticking tape over security cameras and entering the separately located offices of his Anti-Corruption Foundation (FBK) and the studio where his team films YouTube shows.
“I’m being told these are bailiffs looking for 29 million rubles ($375,000) as part of enforcement proceedings,” FBK director and Navalny’s lawyer Ivan Zhdanov tweeted.
He is likely referring to a defamation lawsuit that Kremlin-linked catering magnate Yevgeny Prigozhin won in July concerning his alleged links to contaminated school lunches. A Moscow court ordered Navalny, FBK and senior Navalny ally and lawyer Lyubov Sobol to each pay that sum to a Prigozhin-linked school lunch vendor.
Around the same time that masked men raided the Navalny offices, the state-run TASS news agency reported that Zhdanov was charged with contempt of court. It did not specify which of the court orders Zhdanov was allegedly in contempt of.
A court previously found Zhdanov guilty of failing to delete a YouTube investigation implicating former Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev in large-scale corruption and fined him 100,000 rubles ($1,300).
Navalny, 44, is recovering from a poisoning attempt in Germany with what German military scientists say was a Novichok nerve agent. The European Union has imposed sanctions on several Russian government and security figures in connection with the poisoning, while the Kremlin maintains it was not involved in the incident while also questioning whether Navalny was poisoned at all.