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Russia opens new investigation against opposition leader
December 14, 2012 / 7:43 AM / 5 years ago

Russia opens new investigation against opposition leader

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia has opened a criminal investigation against opposition leader Alexei Navalny on suspicion of fraud and money laundering, the federal investigative committee said on Friday.

Opposition leader Alexei Navalny speaks during the first meeting of the Russian opposition Coordination Council in Moscow October 27, 2012. REUTERS/Sergei Karpukhin

Navalny, an anti-corruption blogger who has organized protests in the past 12 months against President Vladimir Putin, already faces charges of theft which he says are politically motivated and part of a Kremlin clampdown on dissent.

The federal investigative committee, a government agency, said on its website that Navalny and his brother were being investigated over the alleged theft of 55 million roubles ($1.79 million) by a trading company they are involved in.

It announced the investigation one day before the opposition plans a new march against Putin in Moscow.

Navalny was not immediately available for comment. He has denied the earlier charges, over the alleged theft of timber from a state company in the Kirov region when he was advising the governor there in 2009.

He is threatened with 10 years in jail if found guilty of the earlier charges.

($1 = 30.6722 Russian roubles)

Reporting By Thomans Grove, Editing by Timothy Heritage

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