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Russian Opposition Leaders, Foundation Ordered to Pay $1.4 Million to Putin's Chef

Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny speaks during a rally to support political prisoners in Moscow, Russia, Sept. 29, 2019.

A Moscow court has ordered two prominent opposition leaders and their foundation to pay $1.4 million in compensation to a company associated with President Vladimir Putin's personal chef.

The court ruled on Monday that Aleksei Navalny's Anti-Corruption Foundation financially damaged the business interests of Moscow Pupil, a food supplier to schools in the nation's capital, the opposition leader said on his Instagram page.

Lyubov Sobol, a member of the Anti-Corruption Foundation who helped lead protests in Moscow this summer, is among the defendents named in the lawsuit. Moscow Pupil is connected to Yeveny Prigozhin, who is considered a close associate of Putin.

The Anti-Corruption Foundation published a video blaming Prigozhin's company for a breakout of food poisoning in Moscow schools and kindergartens in December. Russia's Investigative Committee pointed the finger at another supplier named VITO-1, Russian daily Kommersant reported.

Moscow Pupil said it lost a major supply contract because of Navalny's video. As part of its ruling in favor of Moscow Pupil, the court also demanded the Anti-Corruption Foundation delete the video.

"So, they poisoned children in schools and kindergartens. Cases of dysentery have been documented. However, we should pay," Navalny said in a statement on his Instagram page.