Prosecutor General dismisses report linking him to gang of murderers as ‘lies’ and ‘hatchet job’
“For me, it is obvious that the report is a pre-ordered job that was sponsored not by those who executed it. It cost a lot of money!” Yuri Chaika told TASS during a Thursday press conference dedicated to the Day of Lawyers. He went on to call the accusations by the Foundation for Fighting Corruption headed by famous whistleblower and opposition politician Aleksey Navalny were groundless and knowingly distributed lies.
Chaika’s reaction came after earlier this week the Foundation for Fighting Corruption circulated an internet video with allegations that the family and some of co-workers of the Prosecutor General possessed real estate and businesses abroad and were involved in shady business schemes.
The most serious of accusations made by Navalny and his group were that Chaika’s son Artyom and former wife of one of the Prosecutor General’s deputies owned stakes in a Greek hotel. According to Navalny, in the late 2000s this woman, Olga Lopatina, also owned a part in the sugar trading company that was co-owned by the wives of two leaders of a notorious Russian mafia clan.
Earlier, Lopatina told Russian news site RBC that all the allegations in Navalny’s report were lies. “I have never had any joint businesses with members of the so called Tsapok Gang and never knew anyone from this family. The information that I have co-owned a commercial company together with these people is false,” the woman wrote in her letter to reporters.
The women mentioned by Lopatina and the anti-corruption activists were wives of Sergey Tsapok and Sergey Tsepovyaz – the leaders of the South Russian criminal clan known for killing 18 people, including four children at a remote farm in 2010.
On Tuesday, journalists asked Vladimir Putin’s press secretary, Dmitry Peskov, if officials in the Kremlin had seen the film with accusations against the Prosecutor General. Peskov answered that it had not yet happened because everyone was too busy preparing the presidential message to the Federal Assembly.
Aleksey Navalny is a trained lawyer with a long-time political career who became famous for launching anti-corruption projects on the internet. Eventually he developed into a party leader and took part in the Moscow City mayoral race.
Despite his constant anti-corruption rhetoric, Navalny himself has become a suspect in several criminal cases involving graft and embezzlement. Two of them have already ended in a conviction – apart from the abovementioned Yves Rocher case, Navalny received a five-year suspended sentence for his role in the large-scale embezzlement at a state owned timber company Kirovles.
On Thursday Navalny wrote in his blog that he and other workers of his Foundation would sue the Prosecutor General for slander.
Also on Thursday, the head of Russia’s Communist Party, Gennadiy Zyuganov, told reporters that the anti-Chaika report by Navalny’s foundation had been ordered by the Central Intelligence Agency of the United States.