Russian opposition politician Alexei Navalny’s bank accounts were frozen and his Moscow apartment seized as part of a lawsuit while he was recovering from a suspected poisoning in a Berlin hospital.
- Mr Navalny has a long-running dispute with Moscow Schoolchild catering company
- The Russian court ordered for damages to be paid over libel
- Tests in Germany found he was poisoned with Novichok nerve agent but the Kremlin denies involvement
His assets were seized by a Russian court on August 27 in connection with a lawsuit filed by the Moscow Schoolchild catering company, spokeswoman Kira Yarmysh said in a video posted to Twitter on Thursday.
The politician and his allies have been involved in a long-running dispute with the company.
“This means the flat cannot be sold, donated or mortgaged,” Ms Yarmysh said.
Mr Navalny was flown from Russia to Berlin last month after falling ill on a domestic flight in Siberia.
Tests in Germany, France and Sweden found he was poisoned with a nerve agent.
The West has demanded an explanation from the Kremlin, which has denied any involvement in the incident and said it has yet to see evidence of a crime.
There were allegations that Russian President Vladimir Putin said Mr Navalny could have poisoned himself.
In the dispute with Moscow Schoolchild, a Russian court in October 2019 ordered Mr Navalny, his Anti-Corruption Foundation (FBK) and ally Lyubov Sobol to pay $US1.4 million ($1.98 million) in damages for libelling the company and causing it moral damage.
The court told his group to delete a video in which they had called into question the quality of its food.
Ms Yarmysh said on Thursday (local time) that the court had decided to recover 88 million roubles ($1.61 million) from Mr Navalny, Ms Sobol and the FBK.
“This is the amount it estimates in lost profit for Moscow Schoolchild because of losing a contract to provide food.”
The court could not be reached for comment.
Reuters called nine listed telephone numbers for Moscow Schoolchild and got through only once, to a woman who identified herself as an accountant but hung up when told she was speaking to a journalist.
Mr Navalny and his allies have long been a thorn in the side of President Vladimir Putin, organising large protests in Moscow in 2019 and regularly producing videos accusing prominent political figures of corruption.
His supporters say lawsuits and police raids targeting Mr Navalny and his foundation are part of a coordinated campaign to cripple their activities.
Russian authorities deny those charges.