Jailed Kremlin’s critic Alexei Navalny’s outlawed Anti-Corruption Foundation (FBK), on Thursday published an investigation on YouTube claiming that Russian state TV hosts Yevegny Popov and his wife Olga Skabeeva own Moscow real estate worth more than 300 million rubles ($4 million).
Popov, a host on Rossiya 1, is also running for a seat in Russia’s State Duma lower house of parliament in upcoming September elections, representing the ruling United Russia party.
FBK also claimed that United Russia spent 40 million rubles on Popov’s election campaign broadcast, which shows him restocking a local pond with fish and sending a task force to fix a broken sewage pipe.
Last year, The Insider investigative outlet published the annual incomes of top state TV employees, including Popov and Skabeeva. According to the investigation, Popov and Skabeeva were making 13 million rubles each.
FBK says the Insider’s estimates are a lot less than the actual undisclosed income of the TV host couple.
On Monday, Russia’s state internet watchdog blocked 49 of Navalny-linked websites, including FBK’s website, where his team have published investigations into alleged high-level corruption that have sparked nationwide protests in recent years.
Navalny has called for Russians to vote against Popov in favor of the strongest opposing candidate instead under his Smart Voting scheme.