MOSCOW (Reuters) – Russia has opened a criminal case against a police officer accused of leaking data that could have helped identify the alleged poisoners of Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny, the RBC business daily reported on Tuesday, citing sources.
The officer could face up to 10 years in jail if found guilty of abuse of power. He was detained last month and is currently under house arrest, a court in the city of Samara told RBC.
Authorities accuse the officer of leaking confidential information from a database containing information about people’s travel across the country to a third party, RBC reported, citing a source close to the investigation.
The information leaked, according to RBC, is thought to relate to flights taken by agents from the FSB security service with specialised knowledge on chemical weapons identified in an investigation as having secretly followed Navalny for several years.
Investigative website Bellingcat and Russian media outlet The Insider published the investigation last month in cooperation with Der Spiegel and CNN.
“Investigators are not looking for or imprisoning Navalny’s poisoners, but those who disclosed their data,” Georgy Alburov, an ally of Navalny, wrote on Twitter.
Navalny was airlifted for medical treatment to Germany after his poisoning in Siberia in August, only to be detained at the airport upon his return to Russia on Sunday and taken into pre-trial detention for 30 days.
(Reporting by Gabrielle Tétrault-Farber; Editing by Nick Macfie)