MOSCOW, December 30 (Sputnik) – A Moscow court has handed down a suspended sentence of 3.5 years to opposition blogger Alexei Navalny in a case involving embezzlement from the Yves Rocher cosmetics company, a RIA Novosti correspondent reported from the courtroom Tuesday.
The opposition figure's brother, Oleg, was sentenced to a prison term of 3.5 years and was immediately taken into custody. The sentences are substantially lower than the 10 years requested by the prosecution for Alexei and eight for Oleg, who was also fined 500,000 rubles ($9,000).
One of the lawyers representing the Navalny brothers told RIA Novosti they appealed the verdict, which the political activist denounced as a "disgrace," expressing bewilderment at his brother's detention.
Alexei Navalny, accused of embezzling more than 26 million rubles ($452,000) from Yves Rocher along with his brother Oleg, is currently serving a five-year suspended sentence for embezzling funds from timber company Kirovles worth 16 million rubles ($278,000).
Under the terms of his house arrest imposed in February, Alexei is forbidden from using any communication devices, sending and receiving mail, as well as seeing visitors.
Alexei, who finished second in the 2013 Moscow mayoral election, was a leading figure in the mass protests against Russian President Vladimir Putin in the winter of 2011-2012.