MOSCOW, April 3 - RAPSI. The Leninsky District Court in the town of Kirov will hear the case of alleged embezzlement from the Kirovles logging company on April 17, the court said on its website Wednesday.

According to investigators, Navalny, then a voluntary adviser to the Kirov governor, organized the theft of over 10,000 cubic meters of timber from Kirovles in May to September 2009 in collusion with Vyatka Timber Company Director Pyotr Ofitserov and Kirovles CEO Vyacheslav Opalyov.

The regional budget is estimated to have incurred 16 million rubles ($514,140) as a result.

If found guilty, Navalny and Ofitserov face up to 10 years in prison.
Navalny, an anti-corruption blogger and leader of street protests against President Vladimir Putin, called the accusations "strange" and "absurd" when they were brought up last summer, stating that the case had twice been looked into by investigators already and no charges had been filed.

The case was reopened on the orders of Investigative Committee chief Alexander Bastrykin shortly after Navalny accused him of owning undeclared property and other investments in the Czech Republic.

Investigators have since opened three other criminal cases against Navalny, on charges of embezzling from a political party, deceiving an international cosmetics company and conspiring to privatize a central Russia distillery illegally.

Navalny, who currently has no criminal record, will be ineligible to stand for public office if he is convicted on any of the charges against him.