Three Russian Men Arrested for Allegedly Selling Classified Information to Opposition Figure Navalny on Dark Web

Law enforcement officials in Moscow have detained three men suspected of leaking personal data of citizens "that opposition figure Alexei Navalny needed to use in a subsequent investigation," Russian media reported, citing sources.

The three men, who work for a private detective agency, used the dark web to sell addresses, phone numbers and other personal data to paying customers, according to law enforcement sources cited by TASS. The group allegedly used fake court orders and forged police documents to obtain the information.

"Navalny used some of the information obtained from the three men for one of his investigations." The source told TASS on Monday that the three suspects were named Pyotr Katkov, Alexander Zelentsov and Igor Zaitsev.

However, the source said the suspects did not know that one of their clients was Navalny.

The Moscow Basmanny court confirmed that the three men are now under house arrest and face charges of falsifying documents and violating the confidentiality of phone bill records.

While it is not known exactly what the leaked information was used for, the anonymous Telegram channel Baza reported that three private detectives obtained the phone data that Navalny's team used to investigate his alleged poisoning.

Navalny fell ill on a flight from the Siberian city of Tomsk to Moscow last August. After being forced to make an emergency landing in Omsk, he was taken to a hospital. A few days later, at the request of his family, he was flown to Germany, where he was treated at a charity clinic in Berlin.

According to doctors who treated him in Germany, Navalny was exposed to the nerve agent Novichok, and many Western countries have blamed Russia as being directly behind the alleged poisoning.

Last December, journalists from the Dutch investigative group Bellingcat, Russian-language media outlet the Insider, U.S. CNN and German weekly Der Spiegel published a report claiming that Navalny was attacked by officials of the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB). The group also claimed he had been followed for months. The leaked database, obtained on the Dark Web as part of the investigation, includes telephone geolocation data and airline ticket information.

The Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) has denied all the allegations made in the report, calling them "systematic provocations aimed at discrediting the FSB and its employees" and accusing the journalist of cooperating with foreign intelligence agencies.

In March, the Moscow newspaper Kommersant reported that a Russian police officer was placed under house arrest for allegedly leaking information from the country's central database of travel records, which is used only by law enforcement. The newspaper said the officer searched for data from Navalny's flight S7 2614 and "transferred it to a third party.

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