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Russian police raid opposition leader Navalny ally’s flat after trick call

Published: Updated:

Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny said police early Friday raided the apartment of an ally and detained her after he tricked a security service agent into admitting he was poisoned.

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Navalny, 44, on Monday said he had impersonated an official in the Kremlin’s Security Council and got an admission of guilt from a toxins expert with the FSB domestic intelligence that poison had been placed in his underwear in August to kill him.

“Today, police came to Lyubov Sobol’s apartment at 7 am,” Navalny’s Anti-Corruption Fund said on Twitter.

The 33-year-old’s phone was switched off and both Navalny’s spokeswoman Kira Yarmyash and the head of Navalny’s fund, Ivan Zhdanov, said they did not know where she was.

Sobol’s husband and daughter have been allowed to leave the flat.

Western governments say Navalny has been poisoned with Novichok, a Soviet-designed nerve agent in a stunning case that has further dented Moscow’s relations with leading European countries and sparked mutual sanctions.

Sobol went to the Moscow apartment where the man Navalny had spoken to is believed to live on Monday evening. She was detained and spent more than six hours at a police station.

Speaking to AFP at the time, she expressed concern about a possible criminal probe against her.

Writing on Twitter on Friday, Navalny linked the police raid to Sobol’s attempt to speak to the FSB agent he identified as Konstantin Kudryavtsev.

Sobol, a lawyer by training, has announced plans to run for parliament next year.