Navalny ally under house arrest on charge of large-scale fraud

An ally of opposition leader Alexei Navalny was put under house arrest after being charged with complicity in an alleged scheme involving the theft of donations totaling more than 10 million rubles for Navalny's mayoral election campaign last year.

An ally of opposition leader Alexei Navalny was put under house arrest after being charged with complicity in an alleged scheme involving the theft of donations totaling more than 10 million rubles for Navalny's mayoral election campaign last year.

By ordering house arrest for Konstantin Jankauskas, Moscow's Presnensky Court satisfied a request from the team investigating charges against him and businessmen Nikolai Lyaskin and Vladimir Ashurkin, the court told Interfax.

Earlier, a lawyer for Jankauskas told Interfax that Jankauskas was charged with complicity in large-scale conspiracy-based fraud, an offense punishable with a maximum prison term of 10 years, when he and Panchenko arrived at the office of the investigator who is dealing with his case.

Panchenko confirmed that Jankauskas, Ashurkov and Lyaskin were accused of stealing more than 10 million rubles during Navalny's election campaign.

Lyaskin said he had also been charged but released with travel restrictions.

Russia's Investigative Committee accuses Lyaskin and Ashurkov of violating legislation on election campaign financing and large-scale online fraud.

Investigators claim that Lyaskin and Ashurkov, who are close allies of Navalny's, transferred 2 million rubles to the opposition leader's mayoral election campaign account in July 2013. Each donated 1 million rubles.

Afterward they appealed through the Internet for donations to their "electronic wallets," promising them that money would be used to support Navalny. As a result, more than 10 million rubles arrived, some of it coming from anonymous donors with Russian and foreign IP addresses.

Navalny lost the election to incumbent Sergei Sobyanin.

Jankauskas, Lyaskin and Ashurkov are accused of stealing the money. Investigators have asked tax authorities to try to find out the three suspects' sources of incomes and ways in which the 10-million-ruble donations have been spent. The three men have had their homes and the homes of their close relatives searched by detectives.

Read more: What is the link between economics and Putin’s popularity?

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