MOSCOW, June 26 (RAPSI) - Opposition leader Alexei Navalny may be pardoned and the fraud charges against him may be dropped, Russian Business Ombudsman Boris Titov told reporters on Wednesday.
However, the embezzlement charges considered by the Leninsky District Court in Kirov will not be dropped, as this article of the Criminal Code is not included in the amnesty plan, he said.
Navalny and his brother Oleg are suspected of a 55 million ruble ($1.7 million) fraud and money laundering scheme connected with the transportation of Yves Rocher products.
In December 2012, the Investigative Committee described the charges pending against the Navalny brothers as follows: "Oleg and Alexei Navalny embezzled over 55 million rubles from a trade company... In order to legalize the illegally obtained funds, the Navalny brothers transferred over 19 million rubles ($322,130) under false pretexts from a fly-by-night company to an account belonging to the Kobyakovo Willow Weaving Factory, which was also founded by the brothers."
Over time, information surfaced that the trade company being referred to is the Russian operation of the French cosmetic giant Yves Rocher.
Investigators found that Alexei Navalny is registered as the founder and the general director of Glavnoye Podpisnoye Agentstvo (Main Subscription Agency), but he has not had anything to do with the company's activity.
While holding a senior position with Russia's Postal Service, Oleg Navalny allegedly "manipulated" Yves Rocher into entering into a contractual agreement for cargo mail transportation with the Main Subscription Agency.
The enterprise transported mail from August 2008 until May 2011. While the real cost of the transportation amounted to no more than 31 million rubles ($1.02 million), over 55 million rubles were transferred to the agency's account for transportation services allegedly rendered.
According to Navalnys' lawyer Olga Mikhailova, none of the documents submitted by the investigators prove her clients' guilt. This is a civil dispute between the companies, she added.
Alexei Navalny, an opposition figure and an anti-corruption blogger, is also standing trial on charges of embezzlement at the Kirovles timber company. According to investigators, from May to September 2009, Navalny, who was serving as a voluntary adviser to the Kirov governor, organized the theft of over 10,000 cubic meters of timber from Kirovles in collusion with Vyatka Timber Company Director Pyotr Ofitserov and Kirovles CEO Vyacheslav Opalyov.