Opposition leader Alexei Navalny files lawsuit against Vladimir Putin

The leader of Russia’s Progress Party, Alexei Navalny, has filed an administrative lawsuit against Russian President, Vladimir Putin.  He argues that Putin has violated the law on “combating corruption”.  The Kremlin stated that the president is unaware of the lawsuit.

The opposition leader wrote on his website that he has filed an administrative claim in the Tver Court of Moscow, in which President Putin is the defendant.  This was confirmed in a blog by Rubanov Roman, who is the director of the Anti-Corruption Foundation created by Navalny.

According to the RBC news agency, the lawsuit was confirmed by the press service of the Tver Court.  The service also said that the acceptance of this administrative claim would be reviewed over the next three days.

Navalny accuses Putin of violating the federal law on “combating corruption”, namely Article 10 (Conflict of Interest).  This article states that the conflict of interest “is understood as a situation in which the personal interest of the person in the position of power affects or may affect the proper, objective and impartial performance of official (service) duties”.

Navalny noted that President Putin ordered the allocation of funds from the National Welfare Fund (NWF) to Sibur, a Russian gas processing and petrochemical company.  In October of last year, the government issued an order which allocated 1.75 billion dollars from the NWF to the largest project of Sibur, the construction of the West-Siberian petrochemical plant.  The document states that the order was prepared by the Ministry of Economic Development in accordance with the president.

According to Reuters, in February 2013, one of Sibur’s shareholders, Kirill Shamalov married Katerina Tikhonova, who is rumored to be Vladimir Putin’s daughter.  During an annual press conference in December, RBC questioned Putin about Tikhonova.  “I never discuss issues relating to my family.  They don’t engage in business or politics,” the president said.  

The claim is asking the court “to admit the inaction of President Putin on the prevention and settlement of the conflict of interests” and to “oblige the defendant to abstain from participation in making decisions on the issue on the allocation of funds from the NWF for the construction of the West-Siberian petrochemical plant."

According to Navalny, Shamalov, who he calls Putin's son-in-law, owns a major part “of the largest petrochemical enterprise of Russia", Sibur through the LLC Yauza 12.  The company is listed in 22nd place on the ratings of RBC 500.  Navalny wrote that the president “personally issued an order to allocate 1.75 billion dollars from the NWF to the company” after Shamalov became a shareholder.

The opposition leader admitted that there were no legal violations in the president signing the order.  “He had the right to sign it.  However, he had to declare a conflict of interests,” Navalny said.  He also posted the link to the claim’s text in his blog.

In addition, Navalny has sent a complaint to the prosecutor’s office and to the presidential administration.

  Russia, Putin, opposition

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