The amount of embezzlement carried out by the “Anti-corruption Foundation“ and related foundations charged to Aleksey Navalny and his associates may increase by 1.6-fold — from 356 million to almost 587 million rubles. This was reported to RT by a source in law enforcement. According to him, the investigation established the circle of alleged accomplices of embezzlement and the proportions in which they withdrew money.
Initially, the Investigative Committee of Russia reported that 588 million rubles were collected for the needs of the “Anti-Corruption Foundation” and related foundations, 356 million of which Navalny “together with other persons” spent “for personal purposes”.
As it became known to RT, now both amounts are being specified. The size of the funds received and stolen “can be adjusted upward”, the law enforcement source said.
According to him, the amount of donations to the foundations involved in the case in 2016-2019 may be higher, taking into account anonymous cryptocurrency transactions.
So, according to RT, in the period from December 2016 to July 2019, the bitcoin wallet associated with the Navalny team received more than 350 million rubles.
At the same time, as part of the investigation into the “Anti-Corruption Foundation” fraud case, preliminary information about employees of the foundations withdrawing not 356 million, but almost 587 million rubles, has already been received, the source said.
All these funds, according to preliminary information, came from eight people “from the close circle of Navalny”. At the same time, each accounted for from 3.6 million to 348.85 million rubles.
“Aleksey Navalny, who personally did not take part in financial transactions, has already been assigned the role of organiser by the investigation,” the source added.
Thus, everyone involved in the embezzlement case should prepare for new interrogations and, very likely, for new charges, says Sergey Karnaukhov, associate Professor of the Department of Legal Support of Market Economy at the Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration.
“If they prove their involvement, they will be charged with additional charges. Those who are abroad can be charged in absentia and searches for them through Interpol channels can start,” Karnaukhov explained to RT.
At the same time, according to the expert, in the event of the arrest of the leadership of the “Anti-Corruption Foundation” in the fraud case, the organisation’s activities can be paralysed.
“The foundations activities are already very conditional, and in the future, in connection with this situation, it will simply become impossible,” the source told RT.
Recall that in August 2019, the Investigative Committee opened the first criminal case against the “Anti-Corruption Foundation” on the laundering of 1 billion rubles received to finance the foundation. After that, the investigative authorities conducted searches in the structures of the “Anti-Corruption Foundation” and its employees and blocked accounts.
In July 2020, Navalny announced the liquidation of the foundation.
Now, six months later, the organisation is de jure represented by two foundations: Actually, the autonomous non-profit organisation “Anti-Corruption Foundation”, which was founded by Navalny, as well as the St. Petersburg Foundation for the Protection of Citizens’ Rights, which, according to the offer published on the “Anti-Corruption Foundation” website, now accepts donations.
Thus, the announced liquidation of the “Anti-Corruption Foundation” did not take place and, in fact, turned out to be, as RT wrote, “an ordinary change of sign”.
After the initiation of a second criminal case in December last year concerning fraud with donations to the “Anti-Corruption Foundation”, RT noted in its investigation that this could affect many of Navalny’s associates. Some of them, including the head of the network of regional headquarters Leonid Volkov, the former director of the “Anti-Corruption Foundation” Roman Rubanov and the executive director of the foundation Vladimir Ashurkov, are abroad.
On January 29th, the Investigative Committee put Volkov on the wanted list in connection with a charge brought against him in absentia for involving teenagers in illegal rallies.
RT’s sources in law enforcement later said that a financial and economic examination will be appointed in this case. Experts will have to find out where the funds came from in the “Anti-Corruption Foundation” and related foundations and how they were spent.
The founder of the “Anti-Corruption Foundation”, who was detained on January 17th after returning from Germany, is now in custody awaiting trial on the issue of changing the suspended sentence to a real one on previous sentences of theft and embezzlement. The court hearing is scheduled for February 2nd.
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