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Navalny Cross-Examined, Calls Embezzlement Charge 'Absurd'

Russian oppositionist Aleksei Navalny
MOSCOW -- Russian anticorruption blogger Aleksei Navalny has been cross-examined for the first time at his embezzlement trial in the city of Kirov.

At the session on June 17, Navalny dismissed the charge against him as "absurd."

The vocal Kremlin critic is accused of embezzling the equivalent of $510,000 from the "Kirovles" lumber company while working as an adviser to Kirov Oblast Governor Nikita Belykh in 2009.

Belykh testified earlier in the trial that he had seen no evidence of wrongdoing by Navalny. Navalny claims the charge is politically motivated.

Russia's opposition RPR-Parnas Party announced on June 15 that it was nominating Navalny as a candidate for Moscow mayor in the municipal election on September 8.

Navalny cannot run for office if he is found guilty, even if he is given a suspended sentence.

With reporting by AFP