- Alexey Navalny could be offered political asylum in Germany.
- Russia launched a criminal investigation against Navalny.
- Christo Grozev released the details of FSB officers' travel, and added two more names to the list.
Renata Alt, a member of the German Bundestag for the Free Democratic Party, believes that it is time to offer political asylum to Russian opposition blogger Alexey Navalny. The offer comes on the heels of the Investigative Committee of Russia (ICR) announcing the launch of a criminal investigation against the Russian dissident.
The new case is regarding the alleged fraud that was committed by Navalny. The investigation is pertaining to Article 159 Part 4 of the Russian Criminal Code.
According to the witnesses, Navalny spent 356 million rubles ($4.8 million) for personal use. The funds were donated to his Anti-Corruption Foundation. Additionally, on December 31, Christo Grozev released the details of FSB officers’ travel, and added two more names to the list. The FSB officers had, in total, over 500 trips.
Navalny registered several nonprofit organizations, including the Fund for Organization and Coordination of the Protection of Citizens’ Rights and the Anti-Corruption Fund. All these funds generated over 588 million roubles (approximately $8 million) in donations.
The funds were donated for the sole purpose of being used by the foundations. Given the amounts, Navalny spent almost half of them on himself, as per the allegations.
Additionally, Navalny is accused of having an organized group that aided him in spending the funds for personal purposes, including the purchase of personal property and lavish holidays abroad.
It should be noted that Navalny paid exuberant amounts and international student fees to have his children study in the US. The documents released by the Russian government allege that Navlany paid 3.2 million roubles ($43,522) for his daughter to live in a lavish apartment near Stanford University.
The investigators also analyzed the Navalny Bitcoin wallets, which signify he went on 22 trips abroad. During these trips, 96 million roubles ($1.3 million) were withdrawn.
It is highly likely that Navalny would need to return to Russia to answer questions regarding the fraud allegations. The recent publication in The Lancet magazine, regarding the Navalny poisoning, claims that he is fully recovered. Therefore, Russia can demand for Navalny’s return and also issue a warrant for his arrest.
Prior to his emergency travel to Germany for treatment, he was on probation. However, Navalny brother got 3.5 years in prison for crimes they allegedly both committed previously.
Hence, the Russian opposition politician should be offered political asylum in Germany, according to Renata Alt. It’s time to think about what you can offer Navalny political asylum. She also stressed that Navalny would be in danger if he retuned to Russia.
However, the German populous should be asked if they are willing to pay for the Navalny security detail for the next 20 years. Also, if his life is truly in danger, he could be “poisoned” in Germany. Alexander Litvinenko was poisoned by Polonium in the UK. Therefore, if the Kremlin wants him gone, he would be.
On the same day, the former coordinator of the German government for relations with Russia, Central Asia, and the countries of the Eastern Partnership, Gernot Erler, stated in an interview with DW that a Russian politician would have a good chance of obtaining political asylum in Germany.
Navalny would not choose to stay in Germany, as he would lose his source of income via donations. Also, he would not be useful from overseas. He would highly likely need to leave Germany soon and return for questioning regarding the new criminal investigation and address his probation.
It is clear the Navalny situation will continue to make news in this year.