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Apartments of Russian human rights activists being searched — investigators

September 09, 2015, 10:30 UTC+3 MOSCOW

The searches are conducted as part of a fraud investigation

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© Mikhail Pochuyev/TASs

MOSCOW, September 9. /TASS/. Russian investigators are conducting searches in the apartments of human rights activists Vladimir Osechkin and Denis Soldatov in the criminal case of fraud, spokesman for the Russian Investigative Committee Vladimir Markin told TASS.

"Today investigators are conducting searches of the domiciles of Vladimir Osechkin and Denis Soldatov to detect and seize objects relevant to the investigation," Markin said.

According to investigators, in 2013, Natalya Malinina whose father was under investigation at the time, sought help from the head of the working group for the protection of rights of citizens who were serving their prison sentences, the Council for the development of public control at the State Duma Committee for Public Associations and Religious Organizations and head of the human rights project and rights activist Vladimir Osechkin. "According to our information, Osechkin was at that time actively involved in the work of the Public Monitoring Commission, despite the fact that he had an outstanding conviction in 2013 and could not be an official member of this organization," Markin said.

According to Markin, Osechkin described himself as a human rights activist, which affected the level of credibility to him on the part of the victim. "Then, according to investigators, he introduced Malinina to his colleague and former coordinator of the project Denis Soldatov, explaining that the latter would provide her all necessary assistance," Markin said.

During subsequent meetings Soldatov who, according to preliminary data, was also actively involved in the activities of the Public Monitoring Commission, "misinformed Malinina, persuading her that he and his acquaintances had an opportunity of providing a range of services - from inviting lawyers to releasing her father from criminal prosecution, with details of the criminal cases covered by the media, including the discussion of the prospects for its investigation with State Duma members."

"In reality, Soldatov had neither intention nor ability to fulfill his obligations. Nevertheless, he received from Malinina 1 million rubles ( around $14,500) - ostensibly for that purpose - which he subsequently stole," Markin said.

He added that investigators had information about similar crimes. "At the present time, it is being verified by operational and investigative groups," Markin said.

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