Russia freezes bank accounts linked to opposition politician Navalny


FILE PHOTO: Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny, who is charged with participation in an unauthorised protest rally, attends a court hearing in Moscow, Russia July 1, 2019. REUTERS/Tatyana Makeyeva/File Photo

MOSCOW (Reuters) – Russian authorities on Thursday froze a slew of bank accounts linked to jailed opposition politician Alexei Navalny as part of a money laundering investigation, Kira Yarmysh, his spokeswoman, and Russian investigators said.

Accounts frozen included those associated with an anti-corruption foundation Navalny set up, some personal accounts of allies, and accounts belonging to Navalny’s headquarters.

The move came after investigators opened a criminal investigation on Saturday into the alleged laundering of 1 billion roubles ($15.31 million) by his foundation.

Navalny and his allies say the foundation, which has published a slew of embarrassing investigations into government officials, is transparently financed from public donations.

Navalny is currently in jail for violating Russia’s tough protest laws after calling for people to demonstrate in central Moscow over the exclusion of opposition candidates from a local election next month.

Reporting by Andrew Osborn; Editing by Andrey Ostroukh

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