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The father of Ivan Zhdanov, a close associate of jailed opposition politician Aleksei Navalny, has gone on trial on fraud and forgery charges that he and his supporters have rejected as politically motivated since his arrest in March.
The trial of 67-year-old Yury Zhdanov opened in Russia's Arctic city of Naryan-Mar on October 25, his lawyer, Vladimir Voronin, tweeted.
Voronin told the TASS news agency on October 26 that his client had pleaded not guilty.
Investigators accuse Yury Zhdanov of recommending that the administration of Iskatelei, a remote town in Russia's Arctic region where he worked as an official before retiring last year, provide a local woman with a subsidized apartment, though it later turned out that the woman's family had previously received housing allocations.
The apartment was later returned to municipal ownership in accordance with a court decision and no one among those who made the decision was held responsible.
If convicted, Yury Zhdanov may face up to 10 years in prison.
Ivan Zhdanov, the former chief of Navalny's Anti-Corruption Foundation (FBK), who is currently abroad, has condemned the case against his father and accused Russia's presidential administration of trying to pressure him by arresting his father.
FBK was known for publishing investigative reports about corruption among Russia's top officials, including President Vladimir Putin.
FBK and several other organizations were labeled as extremist and banned in Russia earlier this year. Navalny, who has been incarcerated since February, Ivan Zhdanov, and several other associates, who are currently living abroad, have been charged with establishing an extremist group.
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