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Yves Rocher Rebuffs Criticism Over Role in Navalny Affair

French cosmetics firm was hit with a flurry of angry comments on social media calling for a boycott.

The French cosmetics chain was at the heart of Navalny's 2014 embezzlement conviction which was ruled "unreasonable and arbitrary" by the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR). ITAR/TASS

French cosmetics company Yves Rocher dismissed Thursday as unjustified criticism against it over its role in a 2014 fraud trial against Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny.

A Russian court found Navalny guilty in 2014 of defrauding the Russian subsidiary of Yves Rocher in a ruling later declared "arbitrary" by the European Court of Human Rights. 

Navalny was handed a suspended sentence of three and half years, but was ordered by a Moscow court this week to serve jail time.

Yves Rocher was hit with a flurry of angry comments on social media calling for a boycott of its products and demanding freedom for Navalny.

The company said in a statement Thursday that it was committed to "individual freedoms, the rule of law and freedom of expression."

Yves Rocher said it "condemns any infringement of these principles," including any against Navalny.

The firm added that recent criticism directed against it was "unjustified."

Yves Rocher explained it was summoned by Russian authorities in 2012 as part of an investigation into a company owned by the Navalny brothers.

It said that during the questioning that it discovered "clues" suggesting foul play against the company.

But Yves Rocher said it had never taken legal action or lodged complaints against the Navalnys.

It added that it "did not want to be used for political purposes or to take part in current political debate" in Russia.

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