Russian authorities have stepped up pressure on prominent Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny by launching new fraud allegations against him.
The Investigative Committee, Russia’s main investigative agency, said on Tuesday it had opened a new criminal case against Navalny on charges of large-scale fraud related to its alleged misappropriation of $ 5 million in private donations to its Anti-Corruption Foundation and other organizations.
Navalny, who is recovering in Germany after a poisoning with a nerve agent in August that he blamed on the Kremlin, made the new accusations ridiculous as a sign of Vladimir Putin’s agitation.
“It seems Putin is hysterical,” Navalny said of the Russian president on Twitter.
Navalny fell ill on August 20 during a domestic flight in Russia and was still flown in a coma for treatment to Berlin two days later, where he spent weeks in intensive care. Laboratories in Germany, France and Sweden, and tests by the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, the intergovernmental body in The Hague, have determined that he was exposed to a Soviet-era novichok nerve agent.
Navalny accused Putin of ordering his poisoning. The Kremlin has repeatedly denied the allegations.
“They are trying to put me behind bars because I am not dying and are still hunting down my killers and proving that Putin is behind it,” Navalny tweeted.
The news of the investigation in which Navalny was involved came a day after the country’s prison agency accused him of violating the terms of his suspended sentence in a previous case and gave him one day to take him to the office. to report. In the decade since he started writing about official corruption in Russia and went on to lead him as a political official, Navalny, 44, has been repeatedly arrested and faced with several charges.
The Federal Penitentiary Service pointed to an article by doctors from the Charite Hospital in Berlin published in the medical journal The Lancet and indicated that Navalny had fully recovered. It ordered Navalny to visit his office in accordance with the terms of a suspended three-and-a-half-year sentence he received for a 2014 conviction or a real prison sentence if he misses Tuesday’s deadline .
Navalny, who had previously said he intended to return to Russia as soon as he fully recovered, mocked the claim, saying the Federal Penitentiary Service’s reference to the article in The Lancet meant the government accepted that he is poisoned.
Russian authorities have insisted that doctors who treated Navalny in Siberia before he was transported to Germany found no trace of poison and challenged German officials to provide evidence of his poisoning. They refused to launch a full criminal investigation, citing the lack of evidence that Navalny was poisoned.
The EU has sanctioned six Russian officials and a state research institute after tests by the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons concluded that Navalny was exposed to novichok. Russia has hit back with its own sanctions against EU officials.