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Russian opposition leader Navalny faces 3rd probe in 5 months

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FILE - In this Saturday, Dec. 15, 2012 file photo police officers detain opposition leader Alexei Navalny during an unauthorized rally in Lubyanka Square in Moscow. Navalny, who helped organized the largest anti-Kremlin rallies in Russia's post-Soviet history, was charged with fraud and money-laundering Thursday. (AP Photo/Pavel Golovkin, File) (The Associated Press)

A prominent Russian opposition leader faces his third investigation in five months as authorities intensify pressure on the opposition.

The Investigative Committee said in a statement on Monday that they launched a new probe against Alexei Navalny, who was already charged with theft and with fraud and money laundering in two separate cases.

Investigators said Monday they also suspect Navalny of defrauding a now defunct liberal party of 100 million rubles ($3.2 million) in 2007.

Navalny, a charismatic 36-year-old lawyer, made his name exposing corruption in state-controlled companies. Last winter, he spearheaded a series of street rallies in Moscow that drew up to 100,000 people before March's vote that handed Putin a third presidential term.