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Police search office of opposition figure Navalny in Moscow

Police search office of opposition figure Navalny in Moscow
The headquarters of Russian opposition activist, Aleksey Navalny, and his supporters have been searched by law enforcement in central Moscow. Police said the operation is not related to Navalny's activities but linked to alleged violations of the building's lease.

Searches were conducted early Thursday morning in a building located on the Sadovnicheskaya embankment in downtown Moscow, and are related to a previously initiated criminal case dealing with alleged abuse of lease rules, deputy head of a local police department, Evgeny Tikhomirov told the media.

"Documents, things and people who were inside the building [at the time of the operation] were taken to the police station of Moscow's Central Administrative District," the police official told reporters, as quoted by Interfax news agency.

The official explained that the case had been launched after several complaints were received from subtenants with regard to rental agreements of the property. It's alleged that the terms of the building's lease had been violated.

There are no claims against Navalny's office as a subtenant, according to the police official.

Earlier Thursday, the coordinator of Navalny's Moscow headquarters, Nikolay Lyaskin, announced that "investigative action" had been ongoing in the office, with none of the people who work there having been able to enter the premises.

Locks were allegedly forcefully taken down and replaced with new ones, he claimed, adding that one of the activists who had been on duty in the office at the time of the search was detained.

There’s also been reports that Navalny's offices in Krasnodar, Novosibirsk and Vologda were searched by police this week.

Police did not comment on the reports.

Navalny himself is currently under arrest for having repeatedly violated the rules of organizing public events. He is due to be released Friday.