Navalny convicted of fraud and contempt of court
Russian opposition activist Alexey Navalny has been convicted on Tuesday in a “large-scale” fraud case. He was also found guilty of contempt of court. The Western backed protest leader is already serving a prison term under a separate sentence, related to the French cosmetics brand Yves Rocher.
Navalny pleaded not guilty during the trial.
The Lefortovo court in Moscow agreed with the prosecution, which argued that in some cases, large donations to Navalny’s anti-corruption and political campaigning organizations were used by him and his co-conspirators to cover personal expenses.
Part of the trial was over Navalny’s previous behavior in the courtroom. During proceedings in an insult case which the activist denounced as illegitimate, he used disparaging language towards the judge, including addressing her by the rank of a Nazi officer.
The activist was previously sentenced for fraud in the Yves Rocher case and given a suspended term. A court later ruled that he had violated the terms of his probation and sent him to prison last year. Navalny's supporters have complained that he was outside the country, recovering from an alleged poisoning attempt, and was unable to meet the requirements.
The opposition figure claims he is being persecuted by the Russian government, which, he says, has tried to assassinate him. Moscow denies this, and has accused Navalny of working with hostile foreign governments to tarnish Russia’s reputation.
He is scheduled to be sentenced later on Tuesday.