Russian Prosecutor-General Yury Chaika has accused a major Western investor turned Kremlin critic and "U.S. secret services" of being behind an opposition film accusing him and his family of corruption.
Chaika said in a letter published in the Kommersant newspaper on December 14 that he has "absolutely no doubt" that Hermitage Capital co-founder William Browder, an American-born British citizen, and the "security services behind him" had ordered the production of an online video released earlier this month by Russian opposition leader Aleksei Navalny.
The film accused Chaika's two sons of illegally amassing large sums of money with the help of Russian officials under the patronage of their father.
Chaika said the film was a "black PR action" that is part of a wider effort to discredit Moscow's credibility and "discredit the Prosecutor-General's Office."
Navalny said he is "very disappointed" that Russian officials have chosen Browder to be the "mastermind" blamed for "organizing everything [Russian officials] do not like."
Navalny repeated a call for Chaika to resign and be prosecuted for corruption.
Browder has accused Russian tax officials of carrying out large-scale fraud that was uncovered by his lawyer, Sergei Magnitsky, who died in prison in 2009 after failing to receive proper medical care.
Browder was convicted in absentia in 2013 of tax evasion by a Moscow court and sentenced to nine years in prison.
Based on reporting by Interfax and AFP