RIA Novosti: Investigators and Russian Opposition Leader Navalny Clash Over Travel Ban

File Photo of Alexei Navalny Being Grabbed by Police at Protest

MOSCOW, January 13 (RIA Novosti) ­ Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny rejected an allegation from investigators Monday that he had breached a court order not to leave Moscow.

The Investigative Committee threatened Monday to seek tighter restrictions on Navalny, who is facing embezzlement charges, if he again violated an alleged undertaking not to leave Moscow.

It claimed that he had broken the commitment at the weekend by driving beyond Moscow’s borders.

“The investigation established the fact the Navalny left [Moscow] without the investigator’s permission,” an Investigative Committee spokesman told RIA Novosti.

The committee could petition the court for “a more severe punishment” if the travel ban was violated again, he said.

Navalny, a prominent blogger and political activist, denied the accusation and posted a copy of the bail conditions agreed with the court on his LiveJournal site. This showed, he said, that the court allowed him to travel around the Moscow region, and not simply remain within the administrative borders of the capital.

He wrote that the original agreement, which did limit him to Moscow, had been amended to include the Moscow Region, since he had to cross the city’s outer MKAD ring-road simply to turn onto the right road to reach his home.

“The Investigative Committee apparently forgot that my pledge covers Moscow and the Moscow Region,” Navalny wrote on his Twitter account.

He said that he was stopped by traffic police on Sunday as he was going to see his parents outside Moscow.

Navalny and his brother Oleg have been accused of organizing a scheme to defraud a local branch of cosmetics manufacturer Yves Rocher.

In October, Navalny was handed a five-year suspended sentence after a regional Russian court convicted him of stealing $500,000 worth of timber.

Navalny was at the forefront of the mass protests against President Vladimir Putin in 2011 and 2012, and came second in the election for mayor of Moscow in September.

[featured image is file photo, not directly related to article subject matter]