MOSCOW, January 16 (RAPSI) – Russia’s Investigative Committee is conducting a fraud investigation at renown opposition activist Alexei Navalny’s Anti-Corruption Foundation, TASS reports on Friday.

The Investigative Comittee's statement says that the probe is being conducted upon the motion of the lower house lawmaker Mikhail Degtyarev, deputy head of the State Duma committee on science. He claims that the Anti-Corruption Foundation leaders embezzled individual donations to the foundation.

Opposition activist Alexei Navalny established the foundation in 2011. One of the fund's managers, businessman Vladimir Ashurkov, was put on the federal wanted list on a separate charge in 2014. Later he applied for political asylum in the UK.

In 2013, 16,000 individuals donated about 24 million rubles (about $370,000) to the foundation. The bulk of these funds (about 60 percent) were paid to the foundation staff, not used for their intended purpose.

The Investigative Committee has instructed its departments to check the foundation’s economic and financial operations. The individuals probed as the part of the fraud investaigation are Georgy Alburov and Nikita Kulachenkov, who have been earlier probed for allegedly stealing a painting.

“Alburov, who was released on his own recognizance, answers the investigators’ summons, while Kulachenkov is missing and has been put on the wanted list,” a representative of the Investigative Committee said.  Kulachenkov was responsible for email correspondence with other foundation staff.

The Investigative Committee is conducting searches at the foundation’s premises as part of its efforts to establish Kulachenkov’s whereabouts and his possible involvement in the fraudulent activities of the foundation managers.

Alexei Navalny, anti-corruption blogger, an opposition activist and head of the Party of Progress who came in second in the 2013 Moscow mayoral election, have been already slapped with two suspended sentences for embezzlement - 5 years in the Kirovles case and 3,5 years in the recent Yves Rocher case.