Putin's poisoned enemy Alexei Navalny's bank accounts frozen, Moscow flat seized in lawsuit by Kremlin ally
The news comes amid a dispute between Navalny and a catering company, which has links to Kremlin-connected businessman Yevgeny Prigozhin, infamously known as 'Putin's chef'
Russian President Vladimir Putin's political foe, Alexei Anatolievich Navalny's bank accounts were frozen and his flat in Moscow was seized while he was recovering from Novichok poisoning in a hospital in Berlin, Germany, his spokesperson has said. The revelation comes amid an ongoing dispute between Navalny and a catering company called Moscow Schoolchild, which has links to Kremlin-connected businessman Yevgeny Prigozhin, infamously known as "Putin's chef."
The activist's spokesperson, Kira Yarmysh, in a statement on Friday, September 25, confirmed that Navlany's property had been seized by court marshals on August 27, which means that "the flat cannot be sold, donated or mortgaged."
Navalny, an outspoken critic of Putin and his administration, was flown to Berlin from Russia last month after he fell ill on a domestic flight in Siberia. Tests conducted by health officials in Germany, France, and Sweden eventually concluded that the activist was poisoned with the nerve agent Novichok. The incident occurred when Navalny, a 44-year-old opposition leader, was on a flight to Moscow on August 20 and began screaming in agony and fell seriously ill.
The activist was released from the hospital on Thursday, September 24, after spending nearly 24 days in intensive care in Berlin's Charite hospital. He has also vowed to return to Russia once he is fully recovered, according to reports.
Navalny's apartment seizure came as part of a legal battle with Moscow Schoolchild, which dates back to last year in October. A Russian court, last year, had ordered the activist, his Anti-Corruption Foundation and ally Lyubov Sobol to pay over $900,000 for libeling the catering company. The opposition leader's group was ordered to delete a video, where they had questioned the quality of the company's food. The video had also claimed that the catering company was linked to an outbreak of dysentery in a Moscow school in December 2018, according to the Telegraph.
Prigozhin, 'Putin's Chef,' last month, had warned Navalny over the debt repayment, threatening: "If Navalny lives, he must answer to the fullest extent of Russian law."
The activist's spokesperson, in a video on Twitter, slammed the court order, saying: "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 a coma. This is probably all you need to know about Russian justice."
Navalny, the leader of the Russian opposition Progress Party, has also been hospitalized previously under mysterious circumstances. The politician is considered the most charismatic and potentially dangerous foe of Russian President Putin. The politician, once, famously described United Russia, Putin's ruling party, as a "party of crooks and thieves" and deemed the elections which led to Putin's victory as "rigged." There have multiple attempts of intimidation but the lawyer has refused to cow down. The 44-year-old consistently faces legal attacks and has served multiple prison sentences under Putin's regime. Russian authorities have also called Navalny's anti-corruption organization a "foreign agent," and police have conducted frequent raids on his offices over the years.
Navalny's poisoning comes nearly two years after the nerve agent attack on former Russian spy Sergei Skripal, 67, ad his daughter Yulia, 34, by Putin-backed GRU agents in Salisbury, Wiltshire. The father-daughter duo was in a critical condition after the attack but eventually recovered. The poisoning also comes nearly 14 years after a former spy turned Putin critic, Alexander Litvinenko died after his tea was laced with radioactive polonium-210 in London.