Pan-Russian Nature Conservation Society will file a motion with the law enforcement authorities to initiate a poaching investigation against renowned anti-corruption crusader and opposition activist Alexei Navalny, the deputy head of watchdog's legal department Lyubov Duyko told RIA Novosti on Tuesday.
The cause for the probe is said to be a photograph, appearing recently over the internet, where Alexei Navalny is posing near a slain elk.
"If you examine the photo, you can clearly see that the hunt took place in summer. The hunting season officialy opens on October 15. Judging by this picture, an illegal hunt took place, it can be referred to as poaching," Duyko told RIA Novosti.
"According to the Russian Criminal Code, a criminal liability is imposed for illegal hunting. If it was conducted in a group, a liability up to 2 years in prison may be levied," the ecologist added.
Alexei Navalny has already been given a suspended sentence of five years for embezzlement of Kirovles funds, and is currently under indictment in the Yves Rocher embezzlement investigation. The oppositioner denies his guilt in all these cases.
Alexei Navalny ran for Moscow mayor in 2013, losing to the Kremlin-backed incumbent, but boosting his public exposure through a vigorous grassroots campaign. He gained just over 27 percent of the vote, well above what initial polls suggested he would get.