MOSCOW -- Police in Moscow have summoned dozens of staff members of jailed opposition politician Aleksei Navalny's Anti-Corruption Foundation (FBK) as part of an investigation into an alleged fraud case launched against the outspoken Kremlin critic in December 2020.
FBK Director Ivan Zhdanov wrote on Telegram that police came to the homes of current and former FBK staff members overnight as they slept, slipping subpoenas under their doors to order them to come to the Investigative Committee for questioning on May 19.
According to Zhdanov, some FBK members were able to talk to the police, who told them that 70 FBK staff members were ordered in for questioning as witnesses in the case.
Zhdanov emphasized that the move is the first in the case that was launched against Navalny in December 2020 while he was being treated in Germany for what was defined by European labs as poisoning with a chemical nerve agent in Siberia in August last year.
Navalny has accused the Kremlin of ordering the poisoning, which Russian officials have denied.
The Investigative Committee said in December 2020 that Navalny and several of his associates, who were not identified, were suspected of mishandling 356 million rubles ($4.8 million) donated to the FBK by different groups and individuals. Navalny and his team have rejected the allegation.
If found guilty, Navalny may face up to 10 years in prison.
Navalny was arrested on January 17 upon his arrival from Germany on separate charges of violating probation related to an embezzlement case that he has called politically motivated.
On February 2, Navalny was found guilty of violating the terms of his suspended sentence and sentenced to 3 1/2 years in prison. Given the time he had already spent in detention, the court said he would have to serve two years and 8 months behind bars.
The court’s ruling sparked new protests across the country.