Russia raids offices of Kremlin critic′s foundation | News | DW | 22.12.2015
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Russia raids offices of Kremlin critic's foundation

Investigators have raided the offices of an opposition group in connection with a 2003 case against dissident Khodorkovsky. The houses of at least seven of the group's employees were also searched.

Russia's Investigative Committee on Tuesday raided the offices of Kremlin opposition group Open Russia as well as the apartments of their employees.

Open Russia was established by Kremlin critic Mikhail Khodorkovsky, who was charged in absentia earlier this month with the 1998 murder of a mayor in Siberia.

He was also charged with the attempted murder of two other men.

Open Russia's lawyer Sergei Badamshin said the apartments of at least seven people involved in the group were raided, including that of Saint Petersburg-based coordinator Natalya Gryaznevich.

The raids were connected to a 2003 tax evasion case involving the former oil tycoon, the group said citing officers of the Investigative Committee.

"In our Moscow office, vengeance also comes," the group said in a tweet.

Khodorkovsky - who spent a decade in prison on charges of fraud, tax evasion and embezzlement - was unexpectedly pardoned by Russian President Vladimir Putin in 2013 and left the country.

However, the Kremlin critic - once deemed Russia's richest man - and his supporters say that he was tried on trumped up charges in response to the former oil tycoon's political ambitions.

During a news conference following the announcement that he was being charged with murder, Khodorkovsky accused Putin of showing complete disregard for the Russian constitution and ruining the country.

ls/jil (AFP, AP)