Alexey Navalny, an anti-corruption activist who helped organize mass protests against President Vladimir Putin, said Russian investigators are raiding a willow-weaving factory owned by his parents near Moscow.
The Investigative Committee is searching for documents and evidence linked to an embezzlement case against Navalny, according to comments published on his Twitter Inc. account today. The law-enforcement agency’s press service official confirmed that a search was carried out in connection with the charges against Navalny, declining to comment further and asking not to be named in line with policy.
Navalny faces as many as 10 years in jail after the Investigative Committee increased the severity of the charges against him on July 31, accusing him of defrauding a state timber company of 16 million rubles ($499,000) in the Kirov region. Navalny, 36, previously risked a maximum sentence of five years for causing a 1.3 million-ruble loss to the firm.
Putin, who returned to the presidency for his third term in May, has responded to the largest demonstrations of his 12-year rule by tightening controls over the Internet and prosecuting opposition activists and leaders. After the accusations were leveled against Navalny last month, the activist was barred from leaving Russia by investigators, who said that two more people linked to the case will soon be charged. The accusations are “astonishing,” Navalny has said.