The ex-head of Belgazprombank Viktor Babariko, who was called the main rival of Alexander Lukashenko in the presidential race, was presented with a new charge. On Friday, July 24, BelTA informs with reference to the Prosecutor General’s Office of Belarus.
The prosecutor’s office has checked the case against Babariko, which is being investigated by the KGB. On June 20, the banker was charged with bribery, tax evasion, and money laundering. However, the evidence collected so far has given grounds to change and supplement these charges, the Prosecutor General’s Office noted.
The article on bribery has been re-qualified to “acceptance by an official of material assets on an especially large scale as part of an organized group.” According to the security officials, Babariko received illegal remuneration from commercial structures totaling 28 million Belarusian rubles (833 million Russian rubles) and distributed them among the management of Belgazprombank.
Babariko was detained on June 18 along with his son Eduard. The banker is accused of organizing a criminal group to withdraw hundreds of millions of dollars abroad. At the same time, the Belarusian authorities state that “the puppeteers from Gazprom” were behind him.
The ex-head of Belgazprombank was going to participate in the presidential elections to be held on August 9. The CEC refused to register Babariko when he was already in jail. The arrest and refusal to admit an opposition candidate sparked massive protests in Belarus, which resulted in clashes with riot police.