Anti-Putin leader Alexei Navalny to run for Moscow Mayor
Russian protest leader Alexei Navalny (L)Reuters

Russian prosecutors have demanded a ten-year prison sentence for popular anti-Putin blogger Alexei Navalny on embezzlement charges.

The Kremlin critic and his brother Oleg are accused of stealing 30m rubles (£317,743) from two firms, one of which is affiliated to the French cosmetics company Yves Rocher.

Judge Elena Korobchenko also endorsed the state prosecutor's motion to extend Navalny's house arrest for another month. Navalny, who always denied any wrongdoing, insisted that the charges were in retaliation for his role in protests in 2011 and 2012 opposing Putin's rule.

The two brothers were described as "in shock" after hearing about the requested prison terms.

The blogger is serving a five-year suspended sentence for another case concerning his part in the embezzlement of 16m roubles (£170,000) worth of timber from a state-owned company, while working as an adviser for the governor of the region four years ago.

House arrest was imposed because he repeatedly travelled outside Moscow in breach of sentencing conditions.

The opposition leader was also banned from using any communication devices and the internet. He has been confined to his apartment in Moscow since February. He ran for mayor of Moscow last year and he won 27.2% of the vote.