Russia Opens New Criminal Case Against Opposition Leader Navalny

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Russia stepped up pressure on opposition leader Alexey Navalny, who survived a nerve-agent attack he and Western governments have blamed on the Kremlin, opening a new criminal case against him for alleged fraud.

The country’s Investigative Committee said Navalny had spent 356 million rubles ($8 million) on personal purposes from donations transferred to various funds, including the Anti-Corruption Foundation he set up, according to a statement posted on its website Tuesday.

The Kremlin critic said President Vladimir Putin was seeking to put him behind bars after a failed assassination attempt in August and that the latest move against him was the result of “Putin’s hysteria.”

Russia Opens New Criminal Case Against Opposition Leader Navalny

“They’re trying to jail me for the fact I didn’t die,” Navalny said on Twitter.

The opposition leader is currently convalescing in Berlin, where he was flown for treatment after the near-fatal poisoning during a campaign trip to Siberia. The European Union in October sanctioned six Russian officials over the use of the banned Novichok chemical weapon.

The investigators’ new criminal case came a day after the Federal Penitentiary Service said that Navalny, currently serving a suspended sentence, may face imprisonment if he doesn’t obey a summons in Russia.

There are no obstacles for Navalny to come back to Russia from Germany, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters on a conference call earlier Tuesday.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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