Moscow, Oct 15 (IANS) Mass raids took place on Tuesday at 30 regional branches of the Anti-Corruption Foundation (FBK), founded by Russian opposition leader Alexey Navalny, as part of a criminal probe into money laundering, an official confirmed.
“Today searches are being conducted as part of preliminary investigation in 30 federal subjects in the organization’s headquarters and at the places of residence of staff members of FBK’s regional branches. Items and documents are being seized, which the investigators deem as important,” Investigative Committee of Russia spokeswoman Svetlana Petrenko told TASS news agency.
Earlier, a law enforcement source told TASS that investigators launched searches in regional headquarters in Arkhangelsk and Belgorod.
Searchers were also carried out at the residences of FBK activists.
Tuesday’s raids come after the Russian Justice Ministry on October 9 reported that Navalny’s foundation had been placed on the list of non-profit organisations acting as foreign agents.
According to the ministry, FBK was engaged in political activity and was bankrolled from abroad.
This year, the organization received some 140,000 rubles ($2,157) in two tranches from Spain and one from the US.
According to the investigation, since January 2016 until December 2018, people tied to the foundation received large-scale sums of money in Russian and foreign currency by unlawful means, and later used a money laundering scheme to bankroll the foundation.
The courts froze more than 100 accounts of the foundation and individuals tied to it as part of the case.