A Russian court has handed a three-year suspended sentence to Yury Zhdanov, the father of Ivan Zhdanov, a close associate of jailed opposition politician Aleksei Navalny, in a corruption case critics say is politically motivated.
Zhdanov, who spent several months in pretrial detention, was released from custody after sentencing, his lawyer, Vladimir Voronin, announced on Twitter on December 19.
Prosecutors had asked for Zhdanov, 67, to be sentenced to three years in jail on charges of fraud and forgery. Zhdanov rejected the charges.
Zhdanov was arrested in late March and went on trial in Russia's Arctic city of Naryan-Mar in October.
Ivan Zhdanov, the former chief of Navalny’s Anti-Corruption Foundation (FBK), has accused Russia's presidential administration of trying to pressure him by arresting his father.
Yury Zhdanov is accused of recommending that a remote town’s administration, where he worked as an official before his retirement last year, provide a local woman with a subsidized apartment, though it later turned out that the woman's family had previously received housing allocations.
The apartment was later returned to municipal ownership in accordance with a court decision and no one among those who made the decision was held responsible.
Navalny's FBK was known for publishing investigative reports about corruption among Russia's top officials, including President Vladimir Putin.
Earlier this year, the FBK and other groups associated with Navalny were labeled as extremist and banned in Russia.