Alexei Navalny has ‘bank accounts frozen and flat seized’

Alexei Navalny has ‘bank accounts frozen and flat seized’

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Russian opposition figure Alexei Navalny has had his bank accounts frozen and flat seized after a court order, his spokeswoman says.

A day earlier he was discharged from a hospital where he was being treated for Novichok nerve agent poisoning.

“They seized the assets and the apartment of a person who was in a coma,” Kira Yarmysh said.

His team accuses President Vladimir Putin of ordering the poisoning, something the Kremlin strongly denies.

The leading opposition figure and vocal critic of Mr Putin collapsed on a flight in Siberia on 20 August, and was later transferred to the Charité hospital in the German capital Berlin for treatment.

Germany’s government said laboratories in France and Sweden had reconfirmed German tests showing that the poison used on Mr Navalny was a Novichok agent, and numerous governments have demanded an explanation. The Kremlin however has said there is no proof of that.

After Mr Navalny was discharged on Wednesday, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said he was “free” to return to Moscow “at any moment”, and wished him “a speedy recovery”.

Why have his assets been seized?

Ms Yarmysh said officials had seized the opposition activist’s assets on 27 August, including his three-bedroom apartment in the south-east of the Russian capital, Moscow.

“It means the flat cannot be sold, donated or mortgaged,” Ms Yarmysh said in a video posted on Twitter.

The move comes after a lawsuit was filed by the Moscow Schoolchild catering company, owned by wealthy Russian businessman Yevgeny Prigozhin, nicknamed “Putin’s chef”.

Mr Navalny, his Anti-Corruption Foundation (FBK) and an associate made a video questioning the quality of their products after a food poisoning outbreak in Moscow’s schools in 2018.

But in October 2019 a court ordered them to delete the video and pay 88 million rubles ($1.1m; £900,000) in damages for libel, saying they had caused the company moral damage.

On Wednesday, Mr Prigozhin released a statement saying that if Mr Navalny “goes to meet his maker, then I personally do not intend to pursue him in this world”.__BBC

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