Poisoned Putin foe Alexei Navalny has bank accounts frozen & Moscow flat seized while in coma in lawsuit by Kremlin ally
PUTIN foe Alexei Navalny had his bank accounts frozen and Moscow flat seized while recovering in a Berlin hospital from a Novichok poisoning, his spokeswoman said.
It comes as part of an ongoing legal dispute between the activist and catering company Moscow Schoolchild – who have links to Kremlin-connected businessman Yevgeny Prigozhin.
Mr Navalny's spokeswoman Kira Yarmysh today confirmed that the property had been seized by court marshals on August 27, which means means "the flat cannot be sold, donated or mortgaged".
The prominent Kremlin critic was flown from Russia to Berlin last month after falling ill on a domestic flight in Siberia, with tests by health officials in Germany, France and Sweden concluding that he was poisoned with nerve agent Novichok.
The West has demanded an explanation from the Kremlin, who vehemently deny any involvement with the poisoning.
He was released from hospital yesterday after spending 24 days in intensive care in Berlin's Charite hospital – and has vowed to return to his home country once fully recovered.
The court order comes as part of a complex legal battle with Moscow Schoolchild dating back to October 2019, when a Russian court ordered Navalny, his Anti-Corruption Foundation and ally Lyubov Sobol to pay £900,000 for libelling the catering company.
Navalny's group to delete a video in which they had called into question the quality of its food, which they claimed was responsible for an outbreak of dysentery in December 2018 in a Moscow school, the Telegraph reports.
Ms Yarmysh said today that the court had decided to recover 88 million roubles (£900,000) from Navalny, Sobol and the FBK.
She said: “This is the amount it estimates in lost profit for Moscow Schoolchild because of losing a contract to provide food.”
Wealthy businessman Yevgeny Prigozhin is known as "Putin's Chef', as he once catered an event for the strongman President, according to RadioFreeEurope.
In a video posted on Twitter, a furious Ms Yarmysh added: "Instead of siding with the affected children, the court stood by Prigozhin by freezing accounts and seizing the apartment of a person who was in coma.
“This is probably all you need to know about Russian justice."
Neither the court nor the catering company could be reached for comment when approached by Reuters.
Mr Navalny has long accused the Kremlin of pursuing him through the courts and police raids in a bid to silence him – though Russian authorities deny these charges.
The activist has long been a thorn in the side of Vladimir Putin, organising large protests in Moscow in 2019 and regularly producing videos accusing prominent political figures of corruption.
Speaking for the first time since leaving hospital, the opposition leader said he looked like a Lord of the Rings monster when he woke from a coma.
Mr Navalny wrote on Instagram: “The first time I was brought to a mirror, after 24 days in intensive care, a character from the Lord Of The Rings looked back at me. It was not an elf.”
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