Moscow: A Russian court has thrown out a lawsuit against President Vladimir Putin filed by top opposition leader Alexei Navalny over alleged graft, saying the Kremlin chief was effectively untouchable.
On Thursday anti-corruption crusader Navalny announced he had filed a lawsuit against Putin, accusing him of ordering huge loans to a firm owned by the president`s son-in-law.
"In accordance with article 91 of the Russian constitution the President of the Russian Federation enjoys immunity," said a decision by judge Tatyana Molitvina at Moscow`s Tverskoi district court, state news agency RIA Novosti reported on Friday.
Citing public records and statements, Navalny said that 33-year-old Kirill Shamalov -- who is believed to be Putin`s son-in-law -- came to own a stake in petrochemical company Sibur shortly before Putin allegedly ordered that it be provided with $1.75 billion in cheap financing from Russia`s national welfare fund.
Navalny said the court did not want to accept the case to avoid what would become hugely sensitive hearings.
He vowed to press ahead with his efforts, however.
"The truth is on our side," he wrote on his blog. "Any normal person (even if he`s a Putin supporter) would agree that there`s a conflict of interests here."
Critics have accused Putin of using his 15 years in power to muzzle free media and strip courts and other institutions of independence while letting his friends and acquaintances enrich themselves.
Kirill Shamalov is the son of Nikolai Shamalov, a shareholder of the Rossiya bank which is blacklisted and identified by the US Treasury as "the personal bank" for senior officials owned by "members of Putin`s inner circle."