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Court upholds arrest of opposition activist's property

January 15, 2014, 18:23 UTC+3 MOSCOW
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MOSCOW, January 15. /ITAR-TASS/. Moscow City Court on Wednesday upheld the arrest of opposition activist Alexei Navalny's property worth seven million roubles in a fraud case.

The court's appeals board said there were no reasons to overturn the decision by the city's Basmanny court on arresting Navalny's property and bank accounts.

Navalny's lawyers said the court ruling ignored the principle of presumption of innocence.

"The property arrest was a gross violation of law, as no evidence was presented that the property was obtained illegally; also, his marital property has been arrested," Navalny's lawyer Olga Mikhailova said at the court hearing on Wednesday.

The court is due to review a similar complaint lodged by Navalny's brother Oleg, who is another suspect in the case.

The Navalny brothers were not present at the Wednesday hearing at Moscow City Court.

Alexei and Oleg Navalny were charged with embezzling more than 26 million roubles of funds belonging to Yves Rocher Vostok and four million roubles belonging to the Multiprofile Processing Company /MPK/. Also, they are accused of laundering more than 21 million roubles.

The investigator said the brothers set up the Alortag Management Limited company in Cyprus which founded the Main Subscription Agency, a dummy firm. In 2008, Oleg Navalny, who was director of a division of Russian Post, obtained information on contracts between Russian Post and MPK, and persuaded MPK representatives to terminate contracts with the partners who had provided services in printing billing advices and delivered equipment to Russian Post's regional branches.

He suggested a new partner, the Main Subscription Agency which he controlled with his brother Alexei, and the MPK had to sign a disadvantageous contract at overstated prices. In actual fact, the former partner continued to provide the services under the contract As a result, the company overpaid at least 3.8 million roubles.

The case was pooled together with a similar fraud case that caused damage to an Yves Rocher division in Russia. The case was opened back in December 2012.

The investigator said the Main Subscription Agency provided mail delivery services en route Yaroslavl-Moscow to a foreign trade company. The sum transferred to the Main Subscription Agency considerably exceeded the volume of cargo transportation.

It is not the first case involving Alexei Navalny. On October 16, 2013 the Kirov region court softened the penalties for Navalny and former head of the Vyatka Timber Company Pyotr Ofitserov, replacing their 5- and 4-year prison term with suspended sentences. Each was fined 500,000 roubles.

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