Vladimir Putin’s critic Alexei Navalny has avoided jail after getting a suspended sentence in a high-profile fraud case.
Alexei Navalny, 38, was given a suspended prison sentence of three-and-a-half years for defrauding two firms.
His brother, Oleg Navalny, is facing a three-and a-half year custodial sentence.
Alexei Navalny has consistently said the charges were politically motivated. He accused President Vladimir Putin’s government of targeting the relatives of his opponents.
The Navalny brothers were convicted of stealing 30 million rubles ($518,000) from the companies, one of which is an affiliate of French cosmetics giant Yves Rocher.
Prosecutors had demanded 10 years in prison for Alexei Navalny and 8 years for his brother Oleg. Although both were found guilty of embezzlement, only his younger brother will be jailed.
Alexei Navalny denounced the verdict as political “pressure”.
He tweeted: “Of all of the possible types of sentence, this is the meanest.”
Alexei Navalny was shocked by the outcome of the trial for his brother.
“Why are you putting him in prison?” he asked the judge.
“To punish me even harder?”
Alexei Navalny has been one of Vladimir Putin’s fiercest critics for several years, leading mass protests against his government in 2011 and 2012.
Tuesday’s verdict is the latest in a series of criminal cases against Alexei Navalny, which he says are fabricated to neutralize his political influence.
In 2013, Alexei Navalny came second in Moscow’s mayoral election, supported by 27% of voters.
He is already under house arrest, serving a 5-year suspended sentence for the alleged theft of 16 million rubles ($276,000) from a timber company in 2009.
The latest verdict was due to have been announced next month, but the court session was abruptly moved forward to December 30 after thousands of his supporters announced plans for a big protest rally on January 15.
After sentencing, Alexei Navalny called on his supporters to protest.
“I call on everyone to take to the streets today,” he said.
Thousands have already said on Facebook that they plan to attend a rally in Moscow’s Manezh Square, near the Kremlin, at 19:00 local time on December 30.
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IMF chief Lagarde has been placed under formal investigation in France for her alleged role in a long-running political fraud case.
Christine Lagarde, 58, has been questioned about her role in awarding 400 million euro ($527 million) in compensation to businessman Bernard Tapie in 2008. She denies wrongdoing.
She was finance minister in President Nicolas Sarkozy’s government at the time of the award.
Bernard Tapie supported Nicolas Sarkozy in the 2007 presidential election.
He was once a majority shareholder in sports goods company Adidas but sold it in 1993 in order to become a cabinet minister in Francois Mitterrand’s Socialist government.
Bernard Tapie sued Credit Lyonnais over its handling of the sale, alleging the partly state-owned bank had defrauded him by deliberately undervaluing the company.
Christine Lagarde has been questioned about her role in awarding 400 million euro in compensation to businessman Bernard Tapie in 2008 (photo Getty Images)
His case was later referred by Christine Lagarde to a three-member arbitration panel which awarded the compensation.
Investigators suspect he was granted a deal in return for his support of Nicolas Sarkozy.
Christine Lagarde said last year that her decision to refer Bernard Tapie’s long-running dispute with Credit Lyonnais to a panel of judges was “the best solution at the time”.
Although being placed under formal investigation does not necessarily lead to charges, the development could raise questions about the rest of her term at the IMF, which is due to end in 2016.
Christine Lagarde told AFP news agency she had no intention of resigning from the IMF.
She replaced Dominique Strauss-Kahn as IMF managing director in 2011.
Dominique Strauss-Kahn – also a former French minister – resigned following his arrest in New York on charges of sexual assault that were later dropped.
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New court documents have emerged revealing Kris Humphries proposal to Kim Kardashian was reshot for her reality show and conversations about her marriage concerns were filmed after she’d already filed for divorce.
Kim Kardashian and Kris Humphries are currently embroiled in a bitter divorce battle as Kris attempts to prove that Kim married him for publicity.
Keeping Up With The Kardashians executive producer Russell Jay took part in a deposition last month and a transcript of his testimony has emerged.
In the exchange, Russell Jay also suggested Kim Kardashian has used a tear stick in crying scenes filmed for the show.
Life & Style obtained court documents from the deposition as part of Kris Humphries’ fraud case against Kim Kardashian.
Russell Jay revealed Kim Kardashian didn’t like her reaction during Kris Humphries’ proposal so asked for the scene to be reshot.
“I remember, like, Kim – she didn’t know he was going to propose at that moment,” he said.
“And she came in and she was completely surprised, and I think she had a bad reaction or something and she was embarrassed.
“So she said can we just, like, have me come back in one more time and be, like, really surprised. Because she had no idea it was going to happen. It was in her bedroom.”
New court documents have emerged revealing Kris Humphries proposal to Kim Kardashian was reshot for her reality show
In addition, Russell Jay revealed that some scenes on the show were created entirely for entertainment purposes.
Russell Jay admitted that the scene in which Kim Kardashian confessed to mother Kris Jenner that she was struggling to make her marriage work was in fact filmed after Kim filed for divorce.
Life&Style reports that Kris Humphries “feels vindicated” by the revelations, quoting as source as saying: “It’s obvious they were trying to tarnish his reputation. This will prove how fake Kim and the show are.”
However, according to TMZ, Kim Kardashian was “completely surprised” by his proposal, which wouldn’t help Kris Humphries prove she fraudulently induced him to marry her.
Kim Kardashian is currently pregnant with Kanye West’s baby and had been hoping to have her divorce finalized before her early July due date.
On May 6 Kim Kardashian will appear in court to defend herself as the feud continues.
It comes after it was revealed that Kris Humphries’ lawyer Marshall Waller quit, blaming an “irremediable breakdown of the attorney-client relationship”.
Kris Humphries still has an out-of-state lawyer – Lee Hutton – but needs another California lawyer for the divorce case reports TMZ.
Kim Kardashian filed for divorce from Kris Humphries on October 21, 2011, after just 72 days of marriage.
GlaxoSmithKline Plc. has pleaded guilty to misdemeanor criminal charges and has to pay $3 billion to settle the largest case of healthcare fraud in U.S. history.
The Justice Department says GSK pleaded guilty to promoting two popular drugs for unapproved uses and to failing to report important safety data about a diabetes drug to the Food and Drug Administration.
Prosecutors say GSK encouraged use of Paxil for children although it was not approved for anyone under 18.
The company also promoted Wellbutrin for uses besides major depressive disorder, its only approved use.
They say that between 2001 and 2007 GSK failed to report on two studies of the cardiovascular safety of Avandia, a diabetes drug.
GlaxoSmithKline Plc. has pleaded guilty to misdemeanor criminal charges and has to pay $3 billion to settle the largest case of healthcare fraud in U.S. history
Of the penalties, $1 billion covers criminal fines and forfeitures and $2 billion is for civil settlements with the federal and state governments.
Deputy U.S. Attorney General James Cole said at a news conference in Washington that the settlement “is unprecedented in both size and scope”.
As part of the settlement, GSK agreed to strict oversight of its sales force by the U.S. government to prevent the use of kickbacks or other prohibited practices.
GlaxoSmithKline said in a statement it would pay the fines through existing cash resources. The company announced a $3 billion charge in November related to legal claims.
Chief Executive Andrew Witty said GSK’s U.S. unit has “fundamentally changed our procedures for compliance, marketing and selling. When necessary, we have removed employees who have engaged in misconduct”.