Russia set to arrest top corruption campaigner

 

Moscow

Russian authorities are allegedly preparing to arrest Alexei Navalny, an anti-corruption blogger who became one of the key leaders of the street protests that have swelled in Russia in the past few months.

According to a report in the Russian media, confirmed by Mr Navalny’s lawyers, Russia’s Investigative Committee will formally issue charges of extortion to Mr Navalny on Monday. The likely charges relate to claims that Mr Navalny acted inappropriately while acting as a consultant for the governor of a Russian region several years ago.

Mr Navalny’s lawyer yesterday confirmed that the opposition leader had been called in to the Investigative Committee on Monday, and said he planned to deny all the charges. Usually, the particular law involved would not involve defendants being remanded in custody, but Mr Navalny’s lawyers say that given the nature of the case, “anything is possible.”

The New Times, a Russian magazine, said it had information that the charges would be made at 4 pm Moscow time on Monday, and even named the investigator that will inform Mr Navalny of the charges.

The arrest would be the latest twist in a very public battle between Mr Navalny and Alexander Bastrykin, the head of the Investigative Committee, a powerful criminal body. Mr Bastrykin publically berated subordinates during a recent televised meeting for not pursuing a criminal case against Mr Navalny, saying that “there would be no mercy” for those who had not brought charges.

Earlier this week, Mr Navalny released documents which he says prove that Mr Bastrykin is involved in business dealings abroad, and acquired a residence permit in the Czech Republic, an EU and Nato member. Mr Bastrykin is alleged to have held stakes in several companies in the country between 2007 and 2009.

While there is nothing illegal about an official owning businesses abroad, Mr Navalny alleges that Mr Bastrykin did not properly declare the interests, and jokily called him “Agent Bastrykin”, a tongue-in-cheek reference to a controversial new law that forces NGOs who accept money from foreign sources to label their websites and materials with “Foreign Agent”.

Mr Bastrykin is regarded as one of the most powerful in Russia’s ruling clique, and has known President Vladimir Putin since university. He was in the news last month for allegedly driving a journalist into a forest and personally threatening to kill him. He later apologised for the incident.

Mr Navalny was jailed for 15 days in December for his part in a street protest against parliamentary elections that gave Mr Putin's United Russia party a majority. Yesterday, he made light of the rumours of the charges on his Twitter feed. “So, if the Investigative Committee is planning to arest me on Monday, I better do something. Anyone know how to get residency in the Czech Republic?”

Mr Putin’s press secretary, Dmitry Peskov, said that the Russian President was not aware of the allegations against Mr Bastrykin. “We don’t read Navalny’s blog, and we don’t see any reason why we should,” said Mr Peskov.

PROMOTED VIDEO
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
News
Lane Del Rey performing on the Pyramid Stage at Glastonbury 2014
people... but none of them helped me get a record deal, insists Lana Del Rey
Arts and Entertainment
Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson stars in Hercules
filmReview: The Rock is a muscular Davy Crockett in this preposterous film, says Geoffrey Macnab
News
i100
Life and Style
tech
Arts and Entertainment
Standing the test of time: Michael J Fox and Christopher Lloyd in 'Back to the Future'
filmA cult movie event aims to immerse audiences of 80,000 in ‘Back to the Future’. But has it lost its magic?
Sport
Louis van Gaal watches over Nani
transfers
Arts and Entertainment
Flora Spencer-Longhurst as Lavinia, William Houston as Titus Andronicus and Dyfan Dwyfor as Lucius
theatreThe Shakespeare play that proved too much for more than 100 people
News
exclusivePunk icon Viv Albertine on Sid Vicious, complacent white men, and why free love led to rape
Sport
New Real Madrid signing James Rodríguez with club president Florentino Perez
transfersColombian World Cup star completes £63m move to Spain
Arts and Entertainment
Stir crazy: Noel Fielding in 'Luxury Comedy 2: Tales from Painted Hawaii'
comedyAs ‘Luxury Comedy’ returns, Noel Fielding on why mainstream success scares him and what the future holds for 'The Boosh'
Life and Style
Flow chart: Karl Landsteiner discovered blood types in 1900, yet scientists have still not come up with an explanation for their existence
lifeAll of us have one. Yet even now, it’s a matter of debate what they’re for
Arts and Entertainment
'Weird Al' Yankovic, or Alfred Matthew, at the 2014 Los Angeles Film Festival Screening of
musicHis latest video is an ode to good grammar. But what do our experts think he’s missed out?
Travel
Hotel Tour d’Auvergne in Paris launches pay-what-you-want
travelIt seems fraught with financial risk, but the policy has its benefits
Arts and Entertainment
booksThe best children's books for this summer
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

SQL Developer - Permanent - London - Up to £50k

£45000 - £50000 Per Annum 23 days holiday plus Pension scheme: Clearwater Peop...

IT Technician (1st/2nd line support) - Leatherhead, Surrey

£23000 - £25000 per annum: Ashdown Group: IT Technician (1st/2nd line support)...

Primary Teacher EYFS, KS1 and KS2

£85 - £130 per day: Randstad Education Preston: Randstad Education are urgentl...

KS1 and KS2 Primary NQT Job in Lancaster Area

£85 - £110 per day: Randstad Education Preston: Randstad Education is urgently...

Day In a Page

Noel Fielding's 'Luxury Comedy': A land of the outright bizarre

Noel Fielding's 'Luxury Comedy'

A land of the outright bizarre
What are the worst 'Word Crimes'?

What are the worst 'Word Crimes'?

‘Weird Al’ Yankovic's latest video is an ode to good grammar. But what do The Independent’s experts think he’s missed out?
Can Secret Cinema sell 80,000 'Back to the Future' tickets?

The worst kept secret in cinema

A cult movie event aims to immerse audiences of 80,000 in ‘Back to the Future’. But has it lost its magic?
Facebook: The new hatched, matched and dispatched

The new hatched, matched and dispatched

Family events used to be marked in the personal columns. But now Facebook has usurped the ‘Births, Deaths and Marriages’ announcements
Why do we have blood types?

Are you my type?

All of us have one but probably never wondered why. Yet even now, a century after blood types were discovered, it’s a matter of debate what they’re for
Honesty box hotels: You decide how much you pay

Honesty box hotels

Five hotels in Paris now allow guests to pay only what they think their stay was worth. It seems fraught with financial risk, but the honesty policy has its benefit
Commonwealth Games 2014: Why weight of pressure rests easy on Michael Jamieson’s shoulders

Michael Jamieson: Why weight of pressure rests easy on his shoulders

The Scottish swimmer is ready for ‘the biggest race of my life’ at the Commonwealth Games
Some are reformed drug addicts. Some are single mums. All are on benefits. But now these so-called 'scroungers’ are fighting back

The 'scroungers’ fight back

The welfare claimants battling to alter stereotypes
Amazing video shows Nasa 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action

Fireballs in space

Amazing video shows Nasa's 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action
A Bible for billionaires

A Bible for billionaires

Find out why America's richest men are reading John Brookes
Paranoid parenting is on the rise - and our children are suffering because of it

Paranoid parenting is on the rise

And our children are suffering because of it
For sale: Island where the Magna Carta was sealed

Magna Carta Island goes on sale

Yours for a cool £4m
Phone hacking scandal special report: The slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

The hacker's tale: the slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

Glenn Mulcaire was jailed for six months for intercepting phone messages. James Hanning tells his story in a new book. This is an extract
We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

Child abusers are not all the same, yet the idea of treating them differently in relation to the severity of their crimes has somehow become controversial
The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

For instance, did Isis kill the Israeli teenagers to trigger a war, asks Patrick Cockburn