MOSCOW (AP) — Russian bailiffs raided the offices of opposition leader Alexei Navalny’s organization Thursday while the politician is still recovering in Germany from a nearly fatal poisoning.
Navalny’s associates linked the move to a court ruling that obliged his Anti-Corruption Foundation to pay damages to a school catering company reportedly linked to a tycoon with ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin, Yevgeny Prigozhin.
Navalny, an anti-corruption investigator and Putin’s most visible and determined opponent, fell ill on Aug. 20 during a domestic flight in Russia and was flown to Germany two days later. He is still recovering there.
Tests conducted at labs designated by the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons confirmed that the poison used on Navalny was a Soviet-era Novichok nerve agent. Navalny asserted that his poisoning only could have been ordered by spymasters who wouldn’t have made such decisions without Putin’s personal involvement – claims the Kremlin has vehemently rejected.
The Russian hospital that first treated Navalny said it found no evidence he was poisoned. Russian authorities have said they conducted a preliminary investigation but argued that they needed proof of poisoning to launch a full-fledged criminal inquiry and lamented Germany’s refusal to share the materials.
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