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Rights Group of the Week: Anti-Corruption Foundation

posted 17 Jul 2016, 00:29 by Rights in Russia   [ updated 17 Jul 2016, 01:07 ]
On 14 July 2016 the Anti-Corruption Foundation headed by Aleksei Navalny alleged that first deputy prime minister Igor Shuvalov had been using an undeclared $62-million private business jet. As The Moscow Times has written, a report by the Anti-Corruption Foundation based on "tracking websites that monitor flights of almost any aircraft [...] found that over the past two years, the luxurious Bombardier Global Express plane traveled to the same destination as Shuvalov in 13 cases. When Shuvalov is not onboard, the plane is used by his wife, Olga Shuvalova — a corgi dog breeder famous on Russian dog forums — to deliver her canines to various dog shows across the country and internationally [...]." The Moscow Times goes on to say that the report "provoked immediate backlash from Shuvalova, who denied the accusations and threatened to sue Navalny." [...] According to the report, "this year the private jet carried out 18 flights to Saltzburg, Austria — where Shuvalova's foreign company owns a lavish mansion on the city's outskirts. [...] Even if Shuvalov doesn't own but rents the jet to fly to the Austrian "dacha," the combined cost of the trips would come to about 100 million rubles ($1.5 million), according to the report."

In another report earlier this month, the Anti-Corruption Foundation had alleged that Shuvalov had purchased 10 apartments costing an estimated 600 million rubles ($9.4 million) in a single prestigious building in Moscow apparently with a view to converting them into a single apartment. At the time The Moscow Times reported that "Shuvalov's representatives also did not deny the purchase, but said that Shuvalov's assets were under custody and trust" and all information about the properties owned by first deputy prime minister Shuvalov and his family is publicly available.

Also this past week, on 12 July, a Moscow court dismissed lawsuit for defamation brought by Aleksei Navalny, head of the Anti-Corruption Foundation, against the state broadcaster VGTRK and its head Dmitry Kiselev. As Carl Schreck, writing for RFE/RL, reported, the suit concerned a report broadcast on Rossia-1 TV station in April this year that accused Aleksei Navalny of being on the payroll of U.S. and UK intelligence. Carl Schreck notes that the report "has been widely ridiculed as a crude hatchet job featuring laughable 'evidence' of Navalny's purported work for foreign masters, including supposed leaked letters from MI6 and CIA officers with clumsy English syntax and Navalny's supposed Skype call in which neither voice sounds like the man's. One alleged letter from British intelligence stated that Navalny, operating under the codename Freedom, was recommended by U.S.-British financier and Kremlin opponent Bill Browder (purported codename: Solomon) for financing to carry out 'anticorruption projects against the trustees of the president of the Russian Federation' and an operation called 'Quake' aimed at undermining 'the existing constitutional order of the Russian Federation'." Subsequently, Aleksei Navalny formally asked the FSB to investigate his alleged ties to Western intelligence as presented in the film. Carl Schreck observes that at the court hearing on 12 July Aleksei Navalny said that "the security agency refused to investigate" the allegations by Russian state TV, but despite that "Judge Boris Udov of the Savelovsky district court ruled that Navalny's slander lawsuit had no merit."

The Anti-Corruption Foundation is a non-profit established in 2011 by the civil society and political activist Aleksei Navalny. According to the website of the Foundation its sole source of funding is donations by its supporters. The Foundation has about 30 staff members who conduct investigations into allegations of corruption, bring allegations they believe to be well-founded to the attention of the Investigative Committee, the Prosecutor's Office and other agencies, and publicize the results of their investigations.

For an earlier item published by Rights in Russia about the Anti-Corruption Foundation, see here.

Sources: 
Maria Evdokimova, 'Navalny: Russian Deputy Prime Minister Uses Undeclared Lavish Private Plane,' The Moscow Times, 14 July 2016
Daria Litvinova, 'Navalny: Russian Deputy Prime Minister Owns 10 Elite Apartments,' The Moscow Times, 4 July 2016
Carl Schreck, 'Russian Court Rejects Navalny Slander Lawsuit Over State TV 'Spy' Claims,' RFE/RL, 12 July 2016
'«МОЕЙ СОБАКЕ НЕ КОМФОРТНО В БИЗНЕС-КЛАССЕ». НОВОЕ РАССЛЕДОВАНИЕ И МИНИ-ФИЛЬМ ОТ ФБК,' Anti-Corruption Foundation, 14 July 2016
'ЦАРЬ-КВАРТИРА ИГОРЯ ШУВАЛОВА СТОИТ КАК 600 ОБЫЧНЫХ КВАРТИР, НАД КОТОРЫМИ ОН СМЕЯЛСЯ,' Anti-Corruption Foundation, 4 July 2016
Anti-Corruption Foundation, Wikipedia
Фонд борьбы с коррупцией
Фонд борьбы с коррупцией, Wikipedia
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