Russia’s top investigative agency, which announced the charges Wednesday, said the defendant, Alexander Lebedev, cannot leave Moscow while the probe is under way. In Russia, filing charges marks the start of a criminal investigation, which may or may not lead to a trial.
Lebedev said in comments carried by the Interfax news agency that he considers the charges against him political and “completely made up.”
He could face up to seven years in prison, if he’s convicted on hooliganism charges similar to those that were filed against three members of the feminist rock band Pussy Riot. They were sentenced to two years each last month for performing a “punk prayer” against President Vladimir Putin inMoscow’s main cathedral.