Pre-investigation enquiry into Aleksey Navalny’s affairs have been going on for more than a year. Chief directorate of the Ministry of Home Affairs for the Volga Federal Circuit has suspected Navalny, at the time an advisor to the governor of Kirov Region, of fraud which caused 1.3m roubles ($45,000) damage to Kirovles state unitary enterprise.
According to Russian mafia portal (rumafia.com) own information, the accusation is based on the testimony of former director of Kirovles Vyacheslav Opalev. Aleksey Navalny, he testified, “by means of deceit and abuse of confidence” convinced Opalev to strike a disadvantageous timber supply deal with Vyatka Forest Company limited liability company.
The enquiry began with Vyatka Forest Company and company’s head Petr Ofitserov, an alleged friend of Aleksey Navalny. The investigators looked for the evidence of embezzlement.
The investigative directorate for Kirov Region of Russia’s Investigative Committee, having examined the files gathered by the enquiry, did not find evidence sufficient for initiating criminal proceedings against the governor’s advisor. However, central apparatus of the Investigative Committee decided to continue pre-investigational work and ordered the department for the Volga Federal Circuit to interrogate all people who might be involved into the affair. As a result the chief investigative directorate of the Investigative Committee opened a criminal investigation into what might be a crime under Article 165.3b of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation (“inflicting material damage by means of deceit or abuse of confidence without evidence of embezzlement”).
Aleksey Navalny said that the case was fabricated in the interest of corrupt corporations and officials which he exposed in his blog. “In order to make up criminal charges out of fib they had to take this to the highest level – Russia’s Investigative Committee,” Navalny blogged. On the contrary, his official requests and exposes “go down”. Navalny promised not to stop his anti-corruption campaign.
Governor of Kirov region Nikita Belykh said the accusation was unfounded. “Let me remind that the criminal case is solely based on the testimony of former director general of Kirovles Vyacheslav Opalev,” Belykh blogged. “Testimony of the same person is used against another advisor of mine – Andrey Votinov. The investigation commenced in February 2010 (I was first to come up with this). The investigation has been going on for 14 months. No charges have been brought up before the court. No charges – after 14 months of investigation!” The governor highlighted the fact that the prosecutors initiated criminal investigation into Opalev’s own affairs (he is suspected of abusing his power).
“What Navalny is doing is ambiguous. I can not agree with everything he brings up,” Nikita Belykh said. “I will not go into details now, because there is no reason to do that. The accusations against him about Kirovles, I believe, are unfounded.”