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Moscow court orders Alexey Navalny to pay 3.3 million rubles to company he accused of price gouging

Source: Meduza

An arbitration court in Moscow has ordered anti-corruption activist Alexey Navalny (now in a coma in Berlin after an apparent poisoning) to pay more than 3.3 million rubles ($47,725) to the “Druzhba Narodov” meat-processing plant in a defamation lawsuit. 

According to the Telegram channel Law FBK, the amount of money awarded corresponds to the company’s legal fees in its defamation case against Navalny. This apparently includes 484,000 rubles ($6,400) in fees charged during the appeals process, when Druzhba Narodov’s attorneys presented no new arguments.

Two years ago, Navalny’s Anti-Corruption Foundation published an investigative report claiming that Druzhba Narodov overcharged Russia’s National Guard after becoming the agency’s sole food supplier. Journalists later discovered that Russia’s Federal Antimonopoly Service was also investigating the company for inflated prices at the behest of the Federal Security Service. 

As a result of the investigative report, National Guard director Viktor Zolotov challenged Navalny to a “duel” and threatened to “make mincemeat” out of him. Navalny countered with an invitation to hold a debate, but Zolotov declined.

In February 2019, Moscow’s Arbitration Court ruled in favor of Druzhba Narodov, against Navalny, and ordered him to unpublish his organization’s report about the alleged price gouging. Navalny refused and the content remains accessible at his website.

Alexey Navalny has been in a coma since August 20, following an apparent poisoning. Doctors at the Charité Hospital in Berlin say they’ve found evidence that he was poisoned with a “cholinesterase inhibitor,” though the exact substance responsible for his sudden illness remains unidentified. He is currently receiving atropine — a medication used as an antidote to certain types of nerve-agent and pesticide poisonings.

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