Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Thursday that he personally authorised Alexei Navalny to travel to Germany for treatment, after the opposition leader was poisoned with a nerve agent.
"As soon as the wife of this citizen appealed to me, straight away I told prosecutors to check the possibility of him going abroad for treatment," Putin said in a televised appearance, noting that Navalny was allowed to leave Russia despite travel restrictions imposed over a criminal investigation.
President Vladimir Putin's top foe collapsed on a plane in late August and was taken to hospital in Siberia for two days before being flown out to Berlin, where tests found he had been poisoned with Novichok, a Soviet-designed nerve agent.
Navalny has been subjected to frequent legal proceedings in Russia that his supporters say are politically motivated.
Bailiffs put a freeze on his flat and bank accounts days after the poisoning following on from a ruling late last year that he and an aide should pay ($1.2 million) to Moskovsky Shkolnik, a catering company that makes school dinners.
Putin said that even though Navalny was not allowed to leave the country he "immediately" asked the Prosecutor General's Office for permission and "he left".
The EU earlier this month hit six members of Putin's inner circle with sanctions over the poisoning.
The bloc said that the attack with the Novichok could not have been carried out without the complicity of the FSB, the defence ministry and Putin's executive office.
Tests carried out by German experts, later confirmed by France, Sweden and the UN's Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), showed he had been poisoned with the Soviet-designed nerve agent.
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