Russia Opens New Criminal Case Against Opposition Leader Navalny
(Bloomberg) -- 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.”
“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.
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