Russian police raid Navalny's Anti-Corruption Foundation in Moscow

FILE PHOTO: Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny delivers a speech during a rally to demand the release of jailed protesters, who were detained during opposition demonstrations for fair elections, in Moscow, Russia September 29, 2019/File Photo/File Photo

MOSCOW (Reuters) – Russian police raided the Moscow offices of Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny’s Anti-Corruption Foundation on Thursday and state bailiffs said a criminal investigation had been opened against the group’s director.

Navalny, who is convalescing in Germany after his alleged poisoning with a novichok nerve agent in Russia, posted images on social media of law enforcement officers at his group’s offices in a business centre in Moscow.

The RIA news agency cited bailiffs as saying the raid was linked to a criminal case against Ivan Zhdanov, director of Navalny’s group, for failing to implement a court order, an apparent reference to a lawsuit payout.

A court in Moscow ordered Navalny’s Anti-Corruption Foundation and Navalny supporter Lyubov Sobol last month each to pay 29 million roubles ($374,483) for libelling the Moscow Schoolchild catering company.

The Kremlin’s critics have cast those lawsuits, as well as a series of mass police raids, as part of a coordinated campaign aimed at crippling their activities. Russian authorities deny that.

($1 = 77.44 roubles)

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