Jailed former Kirov Governor and erstwhile Navalny ally Nikita Belykh faces new felony charges
Nikita Belykh, the former governor of Russia’s Kirov region who once employed Alexey Navalny, has been behind bars since 2016, when he was arrested for allegedly accepting 400,000 euros ($473,460) in bribes from a local businessman. In 2018, a judge sentenced him to eight years in prison. Now federal investigators have opened a new felony case against Belykh on charges of abusing his authority while in office.
According to officials, when he was governor in 2015, Belykh facilitated a 320-million-ruble (now $4.4 million) loan from the Kirov Regional Mortgage Corporation (KRIK) to a local business. The money was never repaid, however, because Belykh “distributed it for the needs of other legal entities that were knowingly insolvent.” A regional arbitration court later ordered the Kirov government to pay 202 million rubles (now $2.8 million) to KRIK.
“Thus, as a result of the suspect’s unlawful actions, the Kirov regional budget suffered material damages of the indicated amount, which resulted in the significant violation of the legally protected rights and interests of society and the state,” Russia’s Federal Investigative Committee announced on Tuesday.
In November 2020, Nikita Belykh asked a judge to commute the remainder of his prison sentence to community service. The request was denied.