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    Russian Opposition Leader Found Guilty of Embezzlement

    A Russian court on Thursday found opposition leader Alexei Navalny guilty of embezzlement.

    Navalny was accused of embezzling $500,000 worth of timber from a state-owned company, while working as an adviser to a provincial governor in 2009.

    The opposition leader, who has exposed alleged government corruption, says the charges are politically motivated and are intended to silence him.

    He could face up to six years in prison. Judge Sergey Blinov is expected to announce Navalny's sentence Thursday.

    Navalny had recently registered to run for Moscow's September mayoral race.

    Under Russian law, he is not eligible to run for mayor or any future office due to his conviction.



    Earlier this year opposition newspaper Novaya Gazeta researched 130 rulings Blinov made in an 18-month time period. Every verdict was "guilty."

    Navalny has said he wants to become Russia's next president and jail current President Vladimir Putin and his associates.

    Last year, Navalny angered Mr. Putin by leading mass street demonstrations in Russia's capital.

    The Wall Street Journal has described Navalny as "the man Vladimir Putin fears the most."

    Navalny helped organize mass protests starting in 2011 against alleged electoral fraud and Mr. Putin's return to the presidency.

    Navalny's anti-corruption blog has drawn as many as a million views from Russia's Internet savvy younger generation.

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    Jim Malone
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