Russian Investigators Open Case against Navalny over Allegations of $4.8mn Donation Fraud

A criminal case over allegations of large-scale fraud was initiated against Russian political opposition figure Alexey Navalny, a Russian Investigative Committee spokeswoman, Svetlana Petrenko, Sputnik reports.

“The Main Investigation Department of the Russian Investigative Committee has collected sufficient data, on the basis of which a criminal case has been initiated against Alexey Navalny and other persons […] under Part 4 of Article 159 [large-scale fraud] of the Russian Criminal Code,” Petrenko said.

Investigators have reportedly established that, for the needs of a number of nonprofit organizations, donations had been collected from individuals in the amount of 588 million rubles ($8 million).

Despite that the money was reportedly “intended exclusively” for the needs of these organizations, Navalny, as the leader, “spent more than 356 million rubles [$4.8 million] of that amount for personal needs,” including for “the acquisition of private property, material values ​​and payment of expenses, including recreation abroad,” the spokeswoman claimed.

“Thus, the funds collected from citizens were stolen,” Petrenko said, adding that, “at present, investigative actions are being conducted to establish all the circumstances of the crime, as well as other persons involved in its commission”.