Russian General Who Sought Duel Opts to Sue Putin Critic Instead

Jake Rudnitsky

(Bloomberg) -- The head of Russia’s National Guard who challenged opposition leader Alexey Navalny to a duel in September for alleging he’s linked to corrupt schemes, has decided to sue for damages instead.

General Viktor Zolotov is seeking 1 million rubles ($15,000) in a Moscow court to defend “his honor, virtue and business reputation,” said his lawyer, Shota Gorgadze, the Tass news service reported Tuesday. Navalny did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

News of the lawsuit came one day after the RBC newspaper reported that the Federal Security Service, or FSB, requested that prosecutors and Russia’s competition watchdog investigate a food supplier to the National Guard for alleged overcharging.

Navalny released a report in August, citing procurement documents, that said the 300,000-strong force, which answers directly to President Vladimir Putin, pays inflated prices for staples like meat and cabbage in a scheme that allowed Zolotov to enrich his family. Zolotov, 64, denied the accusations and demanded “satisfaction” in an online video, in which he said he would only need minutes to beat 42-year-old Navalny to a pulp.

To contact the reporter on this story: Jake Rudnitsky in Moscow at jrudnitsky@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Torrey Clark at tclark8@bloomberg.net, Tony Halpin, Alexei Anishchuk

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