Investigators Raid Navalny Family Business

Aug. 29 2012 — 00:00
Some of the woven items the Kobyakovo-based factory produces for the Christmas period.

Investigators raided a business owned by the parents of opposition figurehead Alexei Navalny on Tuesday morning, reportedly searching for evidence linking Navalny to a high-profile corruption case.

"As far as I understand, they are looking for documents linked to 'the criminal society, which Navalny created in Kirov,'" anti-corruption campaigner Navalny wrote on Twitter, in reference to an ongoing investigation into his activities while advising Kirov region Governor Nikita Belykh in 2009.

Navalny clarified that Federal Security Service officers accompanied investigators during the searches on his parents' Kobyakovo Willow-Weaving Factory in the Moscow region.

On its website, the factory, which makes items including baskets, furniture and chests, describes itself as "the oldest willow-weaving business in Russia."

"Most probably they will seize shocking criminal baskets and a woven armchair on which I sat, thinking up the plan to embezzle [funds from the Kirov region budget," Navalny quipped on the social-networking site.

On Aug. 1, investigators charged Navalny with organizing the theft of timber products from the KirovLes state company, thereby costing the regional government 16 million rubles ($500,000).

Navalny faces up to 10 years in prison if the charges are proved but has denied any wrongdoing. Supporters say investigators thought up the case as a means of punishing Navalny for challenging President Vladimir Putin and the Kremlin.

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