The Lyublinsky District Court in Moscow Friday ordered jailed political dissident Alexei Navalny to pay 500,000 rubles ($6,725) to businessman Yevgeny Prigozhin.
Navalny, who lost a parole appeal last month, had allegedly made defamatory statements about Prigozhin, calling him a bandit and claiming he had been involved in child prostitution.
Prigozhin, a noted Kremlin ally, is the founder of Konkord Management and Consulting, which owns an interest in Megaline, a construction company which has contracts with the Russian Ministry of Defense. He is also wanted by the FBI on a charge of conspiracy to defraud the U.S. in relation to the 2016 presidential election.
This is one of several defamation suits that the businessman has filed against Navalny and his allies, which could total up to 77 million rubles in damages if successful. Critics of Moscow say the lawsuits are part of a campaign to silence opposition to the government.
The fines come just days after the Biden administration, in coordination with the European Union, leveled sanctions at Russian officials involved in the targeted harassment and attempted poisoning of Navalny last year.