Russian police raid flat of Navalny associate over alleged theft of painting
MOSCOW, February 12 (RAPSI, Diana Gutsul) – Police searched on Thursday the flat of the parents of Nikita Kulachenkov, member of opposition leader Alexei Navalny’s Anti-Corruption Fund, lawyer Vasily Kushnir told RAPSI.
The lawyer said the search was conducted under the case on the theft of the painting “Bad and Good Man,” in which Kulachenkov has been charged. The police confiscated certain equipment during the search.
The period of investigation in this case expired on February 8, but it has likely been extended, and the search has been held to justify the extension, Kushnir said. He interpreted this as pressure on the Fund’s employees, including Kulachenkov. He added that they would not complain against the search, which is “part of the procedure.”
Navalny has written on Twitter that the flat of another Fund employee, Anna Dodonova, was also searched.
Kulachenkov was charged in absentia in November 2014.
In September, another associate of Navalny, Georgy Alburov, was also charged with theft and placed under restriction notice.
According to the investigation, the painting, “Bad and Good Man,” which was on public display in central Vladimir, a city about 200 kilometers east of Moscow, was stolen by unknown persons. The painting belongs to a local artist and the loss is “significant to the artist,” the Investigative Committee stated. Police found the painting in Navalny’s apartment in the summer of 2014. Navalny refused to testify in this case.
Alexei Navalny, an anti-corruption blogger, opposition leader and head of the Party of Progress who came in second in the 2013 Moscow mayoral election, has already been given two suspended sentences for embezzlement – five years in the Kirovles case and 3.5 years in the recent Yves Rocher Vostok case.