INDICE DE GALERIAS
MOSCOW (AP) — A prosecutor on Friday asked a Russian court to convict an opposition leader of embezzlement and sentence him to six years in prison.
Alexei Navalny, who led protests against President Vladimir Putin and exposed alleged government corruption, is accused of heading a criminal group that embezzled 16 million rubles ($500,000) worth of timber from a state-owned company while working as an adviser to the provincial governor in Kirov in 2009.
Prosecutor Sergei Bogdanov told the court in the city of Kirov that Navalny should also be fined 1 million rubles ($30,000), saying that his crime is “common” and “banal.”
The 37-year-old lawyer, who wants to challenge Moscow’s mayoral race in September, has said the charges are revenge for his exposure of high-level corruption and are intended to silence him.
Also on trial is Pyotr Ofitserov, who ran a timber trading company in Kirov during Navalny’s time in this northwestern Russian region. Prosecutors asked the court to sentence Ofitserov to five years in prison.
In his final argument Navalny described charges against him as “absurd” and said that prosecutors had failed to provide any evidence that he was involved in embezzlement — or that this embezzlement ever happened.
Navalny said the absurdity of the case was supported by Kirov officials’ decision not to sue him and Ofitserov for damages in an arbitration court.
“Who is the victim here?” Navalny said. “Show me where the money was taken from and where it got to! Who profited from it? There’s nothing of this kind, but this trial goes on.”
Vyacheslav Opalev, a key prosecution witness whose testimony triggered the charges, got a suspended sentence in an expedite trial in December after pleading guilty to conspiring with Navalny to steal timber from state-owned company Kirovles. Navalny insists that Opalev framed him in revenge for Navalny’s recommendation to fire Opalev and investigate corruption in his company.
Throughout the trial, testimony of prosecution witnesses clashed with the core arguments of the indictment that claimed Navalny’s work in Kirov led to the embezzlement. None of the managers working at Kirovles and who appeared in court, except for Opalev, were able to confirm that Navalny defrauded the company.
Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
December is a month involving lots of celebrations, but as folks take part in pre-holiday parties and the Christmas holiday, it's important to remember to be safe.
The Mitchell County courthouse is going to see some big changes coming up in the next couple of months, but there are already changes happening on the grounds.
It has been said before; if you want better food, buy local.
An area city has made it a point to improve their customer service and more and now they are being recognized.
A hearing being held today could change the course of an area murder trial.
An ordinance violation has 13 dogs being moved to the Humane Society of Freeborn County.
Things are heating up for an area organization looking to meet their fundraising goal.