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The trial in the criminal case over embezzlement of the Kirovles property began in Kirov on Wednesday. Well-known oppositionist Alexei Navalny is a defendant in the trial. The first court session lasted less than an hour and was adjourned.
The essence of the Kirovles embezzlement case is so simple that a representative of the investigation even made a slip of the tongue, saying ‘banalny’ instead of Navalny, the Moskovsky Komsomolets daily reported. According to the version of the detectives, being an advisor of the governor of the Kirov Region in 2009, the politician talked the director of the state-run enterprise Kirovles into concluding a deliberately unprofitable contract with the VLK limited liability company. The detectives found that from May to September 2009 over 10,000 cubic metres of timber, which the state-run unitary enterprise Kirovles owned, were stolen, and the budget of the Kirov Region sustained the damages of over 16 million roubles. Navalny is facing up to ten years in prison on the embezzlement charge.
The court session lasted less than an hour, the Kommersant daily reported. Judge Sergei Blinov satisfied a petition from the lawyers at 09:50 Moscow time on Wednesday and adjourned the hearings until April 24. On this day Navalny’s lawyers are expected to file a next appeal to conduct an economic expertise on the charges against him. Navalny’s lawyers still refuse to make forecasts on the date of the end of the trial, “About 40 witnesses are included in the indictment, but it is unclear yet who of them and in what sequence will testify in the court,” lawyer Olga Mikhailova said.
“The criminal case is framed, and its outcome will depend from our solidarity,” Nemtsov explained to journalists after the court session. “Opalev (the former Kirovles director and the main witness in the criminal case) talked them into libelling Navalny through blackmailing and threats,” he said.
Going out from the court, the defendant thanked the activists, who arrived to support him, and stated the trial will go on in the same way in the future, “We will arrive and leave, and the authorities will do everything to ease up the uproar and reduce the level of attention to the trial.”