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Opposition politician Dmitry Gudkov arrested pending trial following search of his Moscow home

On the morning of June 1, law enforcement officers carried out searches at a summer home on the outskirts of Kolomna (a town in the Moscow region) belonging to opposition politician Dmitry Gudkov. The officers then took the former lawmaker to Moscow, so they could carry out another search at his apartment, the Telegram channel Sota reported.

According to Sota, Gudkov was taken to the Interior Ministry’s Main Investigative Department for questioning following the raids. “I don’t know the formal reason [for the searches]. The real one is clear,” Gudkov wrote on Telegram. 

Update. Later in the day, Dmitry Gudkov’s lawyer, Alexander Aldaev, told Sota that the opposition politician had been arrested pending trial. According to Ekho Moskvy editor-in-chief Alexey Venediktov, Gudkov is facing criminal charges for “the infliction of property damage through deception or abuse of confidence.” Aldaev also said that Gudkov’s aunt, Irina Yermilova, was also detained as a suspect in the case.

According to Dmitry’s Gudkov’s father — former State Duma deputy Gennady Gudkov, — law enforcement officers also carried out “4–5 searches” at various addresses linked to their relatives. Earlier, Gudkov senior wrote on Twitter that OMON (riot police) officers had come to search a dacha belonging to himself and his wife. “All of the phones are disconnected. The reason for the search is unknown,” he wrote, adding that his sons, grandchildren, and relatives were in the house at the time of the raid. 

In addition, police officers in Moscow raided the homes of Gudkov’s chief of staff, Vitaly Venediktov, and his former aide Alexander Solovyov, who previously served as the chairman of the recently dissolved nonprofit organization Open Russia (Otkrytaya Rossiya). 

The human rights group Pravozashchita Otkrytki wrote on Telegram that the search of Alexander Solovyov’s home was in connection with a criminal investigation into the alleged non-payment of debt under a commercial lease agreement. 

In a comment to Sota, Gennady Gudkov speculated that the criminal case was opened due to several million rubles in unpaid rent on a basement premises on Solzhenitsyn Street in Moscow. According to Gudkov senior, the company that rented the space is connected to Dmitry Gudkov’s relatives; allegedly, the commercial space in question was returned to the city authorities in 2017 after the company went bankrupt. 

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