Kirov court finds Navalny guilty of embezzlement at Kirovles firm

The Leninsky District Court in Kirov has found opposition figure Alexei Navalny guilty of embezzlement at the Kirovles company, an Interfax correspondent reported from the courtroom on Thursday.

The Leninsky District Court in Kirov has found opposition figure Alexei Navalny guilty of embezzlement at the Kirovles company, an Interfax correspondent reported from the courtroom on Thursday.

Having considered materials of the case against Navalny and Pyotr Ofitserov, the court established that Navalny masterminded the embezzlement, judge Sergei Blinov said at the trial.

Ofitserov was found guilty of assisting the embezzlement, the judge said.

The Leninsky District Court of Kirov started to hear the criminal case on embezzlement from the Kirovles company on April 17.

The prosecution claims that more than 10,000 cubic meters of timber was stolen from Kirovles between May and September 2009, inflicting damages of more than 16 million rubles on the Kirov region's administration.

Navalny, who at that time served as an advisor to regional governor Nikita Belykh, is accused of organizing the alleged theft. Ofitserov, who headed Vyatka Timber Company, and Kirovles chief executive Vyacheslav Opalev were accused of complicity in the alleged embezzlement.

Navalny is charged with "organization of the embezzlement of an exceptionally large amount of property."

In December 2012 Opalev was given a suspended four-year sentence with a probation period of three years. Prosecutor Yevgeny Cheremisinov told Interfax that Opalev had signed a plea bargain. Governor Belykh was among those questioned during the trial.

Russian human rights activists consider the case against Navalny as political.

On July 17, the Moscow City Election Commission registered Navalny as candidate from the RPR-Parnas party at the Moscow mayoral election due on September 8.

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