Russian protest leader sues Putin over 'corruption'

Moscow (AFP) –


Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny announced he had filed a lawsuit against President Vladimir Putin on Thursday over alleged graft, accusing him of ordering huge loans to a firm owned by his son-in-law.

"I sued Putin over Putin's son-in-law and I am sure that I will win," Navalny wrote on his blog, accusing the Russian leader of violating anti-corruption legislation to benefit Kirill Shamalov, who recently married the Russian leader's daughter Katerina.

Citing public records and statements, Navalny said that Shamalov came to own a stake in petrochemical company Sibur shortly before Putin allegedly ordered that it be provided with $1.75 billion in cheap financing from Russia's national welfare fund.

Putin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov told journalists Thursday that the president was not aware of the lawsuit.

Putin has kept his family life private but media reports have linked Shamalov and Putin's daughter Katerina, who is believed to be the woman named Katerina Tikhonova who works at Moscow State University, heads a fund and is a former rock-and-roll dancer.

Kirill Shamalov is the 33-year-old son of Nikolai Shamalov, a shareholder of the Rossiya bank which is blacklisted and identified by the US Treasury as "the personal bank" for senior officials owned by "members of Putin's inner circle."