Navalny supporter charged with fraud to remain under house arrest until October
MOSCOW, July 30 (RAPSI, Diana Gutsul) – The Moscow City Court on Wednesday upheld a previous court decision to extend the house arrest of Konstantin Yankauskas, a member of the Moscow legislature who had been charged with large-scale fraud, until October 17, the court’s press office told RAPSI. The court thus dismissed an appeal filed by the defense of Yankauskas.
Yankauskas was placed under house arrest on June 11. Attorney Sergei Panchenko said his client was suspected of illegally transferring large funds to opposition leader Alexei Navalny’s campaign during the Moscow mayoral election last year.
Investigative Committee spokesman Vladimir Markin earlier said that searches were conducted at the premises of MP Konstantin Yankauskas and businessmen Nikolai Lyaskin and Vladimir Ashurkov. They each transferred 1 million rubles (nearly $30,000) to Navalny’s election account posted an online address “for web users to voluntarily refill their digital wallets, presumably to compensate for the funds that had been transferred to Navalny’s account, and to support his political activity.”
“As a result, over 10 million rubles (over $280,000) was transferred to these digital wallets. Investigators have cause to believe that Yankauskas, Lyaskin and Ashurkov embezzled these funds,” Markin said. Searches have also been conducted at the Yandex.Money offices.
This is not the first time that Navalny’s supporters have been suspected of embezzling funds. Last year, the Interior Ministry announced that Yankauskas had received 5 million rubles ($140,316) via transfers to the Yandex.Money wallet, of which he embezzled 4 million rubles (= $112,253).
The ministry said that Ashurkov embezzled 2.27 million rubles ($63,703) and Lyaskin 790,000 rubles ($22,170).
Alexei Navalny ran for Moscow mayor in 2013, losing to the incumbent mayor, Sergei Sobyanin, who received 51.37% of the vote on September 8. Navalny finished second with 21.24%. The turnout was 32.03% of the electorate.