Navalny refuses to testify in case over alleged campaign finance fraud
MOSCOW, December 25 (RAPSI, Diana Gutsul) - Opposition activist Alexei Navalny refused to testify as a witness in a case regarding the embezzlement of his Moscow mayor election campaign funds, his lawyer Vadim Kobzev told RAPSI on Thursday.
On Thursday, investigators visited Navalny in his apartment for an inquiry, which he reported on his Twitter account.
Kobzev said that Navalny replied shortly that the case is politically motivated and refused to testify on the merits of the case. Thus, Navalny’s inquiry is complete for now.
The investigation found that a Zyuzino Moscow district legislature member Konstantin Yankauskas as well as businessmen Nikolai Lyaskin and Vladimir Ashurkov, who transferred one million rubles ($18,600) each to Navalny’s bank account, posted an appeal online urging the public to make donations to their “electronic wallets.” As a result, they allegedly embezzled 10 million rubles ($186,700), the Investigative Committee assumes.
Ashurkov was put on the federal wanted list. It later became known that he applied for political asylum in the UK. As for Lyaskin, investigators have not requested a warrant for his arrest. He is therefore free.
It is not the first time Navalny’s supporters have been suspected of embezzlement. Last year, the Interior Ministry announced that Yankauskas received five million rubles ($95,670) via Yandex Wallet and allegedly embezzled four million ($76,500). Ashurkov, according to the Interior Ministry, embezzled 2.27 million rubles ($43,400), Lyaskin 790,000 rubles ($15,110).
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.
Navalny has been involved in several criminal cases in the past few years.
Navalny is currently under house arrest under the Yves Roches Vostok embezzlement case. He denies all allegations and claims the cases have been politically motivated. Alexei Navalny was given a suspended sentence of five years for the embezzlement of funds from Kirovles Company.