MOSCOW - Russian investigators have launched a probe against a prominent opposition leader on suspicion of fraud and money laundering.
Investigators said Friday they suspect Alexei Navalny, one of President Vladimir Putin's fiercest critics, and his brother of defrauding a transportation company of 55 million rubles ($1.8 million).
The anti-corruption activist spearheaded a series of rallies in Moscow that drew up to 100,000 people to the streets ahead of the March vote that handed Putin a third presidential term.
The 36-year-old was charged with theft in July for allegedly organizing a plan to steal about $500,000 in assets from a state timber company. He denies the charges.
Russian opposition is gearing up for another major demonstration on Saturday although the Moscow City Hall has refused to authorize it.