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Investigations Committee will interrogate opposition activists despite bomb threat - spokesman

June 15, 2012, 11:48 UTC+3
According to Vladimir Markin, specialists are searching the premises, ambulance cars are on the alert near the building
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MOSCOW, June 15 (Itar-Tass) — Despite a bomb threat, the Russian Investigations Committee will not postpone the interrogation of opposition activists Ilya Yashin, Boris Nemtsov and television host Xenia Sobchak over violence in Moscow’s Bolotnaya Square during an opposition rally on May 6. They will be interrogated at another Investigations Committee’s building.

Earlier in the day, the committee spokesman, Vladimir Markin said people are evacuated from the committee building in Tekhnichesky Pereulok over a telephone bomb threat.

According to Vladimir Markin, specialists are searching the premises, ambulance cars are on the alert near the building. A police source said it is most probably the so-called “telephone terrorism.” The caller did not say where the bomb was planted, so another committee’s building, at 57 Shcherbakovskaya Street, is also being checked.

In the mean time, Ilya Yashin, a co-leader of the Solidarity movement, said he and Xenia Sobchak would be interrogated at the address: 38 Balakirevsky Pereulok.

Earlier, Sobchak’s lawyer Genri Reznik said he would demand that investigators return the money they had seized during the search of Sobchak’s apartment, since it was done illegally. He said also he was curious to know how come that photos of the seized money promptly reached the mass media.

Sobchak said she was ready to present her tax returns to investigators. “As of now I have paid even more than I should have,” she said and added that she had a lawful right to keep as much money as she wanted at her apartment. “It is more convenient for me to have them enveloped,” she noted.

Yashin however said he did not rule out that he might be detained as a suspect. “Some media say referring to their sources that they plan to detain me to select a measure of restraint,” he said. In his words, a day before he found the door to his apartment he had not been living in for months broken. “Policemen were cruising around this apartment so in order to evade provocations I tried not to show up there. Yesterday, I and lawmaker Ilya Ponomaryov came there to find the door broken. Neighbors say it had been knocked out,” he said.

During his first interrogation session at the Investigations Committee, Yashin refused to answer any questions, under article 51 of the Russian constitution. According to Yashin, investigators asked about his financial sources and relations with a number of persons, including those who had been detained over the Bolotnaya Square clashes. In all, he said, their asked about 20 people.

The Investigations Committee has also summoned co-chairman of the Party of People’s Freedom, or PARNAS, Borsi Nemtsov. On June 12, other opposition activists, including Sergei and Anastasia Udaltsovs, Ilya Yashin, Xenia Sobchak, Alexei Navalny, Maria Baronova, Alexei Sakhnin, and Maria Dobrokhotova, were summoned to the Investigations Committee to be interrogated as witnesses over the Bolotnaya Square clashes.

“Investigators want to know about the organizers and activists of mass riots in Bolotnaya Square in Moscow that took place on May 6. In the presence of those interrogated, investigators scrutinized computer hardware, databases and other related articles seized during searches,” Markin said.

Thus, according to Markin, investigators wanted to know where the sum of more than one million euros, 480,000 U.S. dollars, and 480,000 roubles seized during the search at Xenia Sobchak’s apartment had come from. “It is yet to be established whether she had paid taxes on this money. A tax check has been appointed for these purposes. Investigators will also take measures to find out where this money kept in more than a hundred envelopes was met to,” the spokesman added.

At the same time, Markin said that more investigation actions would be taken in respect of those interrogated on Tuesday. 

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