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Criminal Probe Of Russian Graft Buster

Russia’s top anti-corruption campaigner is being investigated for abusing his role as an unpaid adviser to the governor of the Kirov region.

Alexey Navalny, 34, left, who we’ve written about before, is a lawyer and shareholder activist. He’s alleged to have used his volunteer government position three years ago to force a loss-making state timber company into an unfavorable deal.

Here’s a report from the AP.

Navalny dismissed the criminal investigation as “falsified” and “fabricated,” according to Radio Free Europe.

His blog, Navalny’s Live Journal, is one of the most popular in Russia. And his new antigraft site, RosPil, lets whistleblowers post entries about corruption in state contracts. His sites have been under cyber attack for the past two weeks.

Russia ranks near the bottom of the Corruption Perception Index, tied at 154 with Cambodia, the Central African Republic, Comoros, Congo-Brazzaville, Guinea-Bissau, Kenya, Laos, Papua New Guinea, and Tajikistan.

The deputy governor of the Kirov region, Maria Gaidar, said the charges against Navalny are “complete  nonsense,” according to Russian news source RIA Novosti. Gaidar is the daughter of former Russian Prime Minister Yegor Gaidar. She’s a critic of Prime Minister Vladimir Putin and his United Russia party.

Last year, Navalny exposed an apparent $4 billion fraud at Russia’s state-owned pipeline company, Transneft, during the construction of the East Siberian Pacific Ocean pipeline. He said the fraud couldn’t have happened without outside help. In an extraordinary public letter to the company’s auditor, PricewaterhouseCoopers Russia, he urged an investigation into both Transneft and those responsible for its audit.

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