Russian officials start freezing the bank accounts of the country's top anti-corruption activists
Bank accounts belonging to Alexey Navalny’s Anti-Corruption Foundation (FBK) — one of Russia’s leading civic institutions — and several of its staff have been frozen, the organization’s press secretary, Kira Yarmysh, announced on August 8. Officials have also apparently started freezing accounts operated by Navalny’s regional offices.
According to Yarmysh, the accounts being frozen belong to the FBK officials reportedly identified by police as suspects in an ongoing money-laundering and tax-evasion investigation. According to a recent article by the website Proekt, officials in this case are targeting Navalny campaign chief Leonid Volkov, former FBK director Roman Rubanov, accountant Anna Chekhovich, sociological service head Anna Biryukova, legal department chief Vyacheslav Gimadi, and attorneys Alexander Pomazuyev and Evgeny Zamyatin.
Earlier on August 8, police raided the homes of Gimadi, Pomazuyev, and Zamyatin, and summoned them to Moscow's Investigative Committee for questioning.
Update: In a press statement, state investigators announced that they have frozen more than 100 bank accounts as part of their inquiry into alleged money laundering by members of the Anti-Corruption Foundation. The authorities also carried out a series of raids at FBK's office and the homes of several staff, and multiple employees have been summoned to the Investigative Committee for questioning.
Last week, investigators also formally opened a criminal case against FBK for suspected money laundering. According to officials, FBK staff and “persons with ties to its activities” received cash from certain individuals, knowing about its illegal origins, between early 2016 and late 2018. The suspects allegedly deposited this cash to their personal accounts at ATMs, and then transferred the funds to the Anti-Corruption Foundation. Investigators say FBK used this scheme to launder “roughly a billion rubles” ($15.3 million). The organization’s directors say the authorities have apparently flagged the public donations that sustain FBK’s operations.