French police believe that the killing of a blogger from the disputed Russian region of Chechnya in a French hotel room last week was "politically motivated," a French police official briefed on the case said. The official said the police were now hunting for the blogger's traveling companion, who disappeared shortly after the killing. French investigators wish to speak with the Chechen man who accompanied the blogger, Imran Aliev, 44, from his home in Belgium to northern France via train on January 29, the official said. Aliev, who vocally opposed the Chechen strongman Ramzan Kadyrov and Russian President Vladimir Putin, was found dead the next morning by hotel staff. Aliev was from Chechnya, the southwestern Russia region that has seen two brutal wars for independence from Russia in recent decades. The region is controlled by Kadyrov, with approval from Moscow.
Navalny says Russian officer admits putting poison in underwear
ABC News Videos - ABC News
Russian oligarch Arkady Rotenberg says he is the owner of an opulent Black Sea mansion, not President Vladimir Putin, as the leaders' critics had alleged. A video report about the vast palace, by Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny, went viral across Russia and has now been watched more than m times. The Russian president rubbished reports he owned the resort earlier this week. Mr Rotenberg, a billionaire with close links to Mr Putin, went public claiming to be the owner on Saturday. The revelation came in an interview posted on the pro-Kremlin Mash Telegram channel, before being confirmed to the Interfax news agency. Mr Rotenberg said the property will be completed "in a couple of years" and is expected to become an apartment hotel. Controversy over the property has been rife following the publication of the documentary by jailed Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny's team earlier this month.
Newly graduated from a technical institute, the year-old had scored an interview for a breakfast chef position. At the time, the hotel was open only to foreign guests and a privileged echelon of the Soviet elite. It has seen glamour, revolution and espionage; gangsters and celebrities. Artists, ballerinas and intellectuals toasted the greatness of Imperial Russia under the crystal chandeliers.
Traces of the nerve agent allegedly used to poison Russian politician Alexei Navalny were found on a bottle in the hotel room where he stayed before falling ill, his team has said. Mr Navalny collapsed on a flight in Siberia in August. Germany says he was poisoned with a Novichok nerve agent. Mr Navalny, Russia's most high profile opposition figure and a leading critic of Russian President Vladimir Putin, is currently receiving treatment in the German capital Berlin. The Kremlin denies any involvement in the case and says its doctors found no evidence that a nerve agent was used.