In Belarus, a close friend of the family of ex-presidential contender Viktor Babariko Svetlana Kupreeva, his friend Dmitry Karako, as well as personal assistant Dmitry Zherdetsky, who were detained last summer after searches in Belgazprombank, have left the pre-trial detention center. About it writes telegram channel Babariko.
As the channel specifies, the released measure of restraint was changed. Which one is unknown.
“They are at home with their loved ones. There is no connection with them yet,” the post said.
Svetlana Kupreeva was detained on June 15, 2020. Before that, on June 11, they came to her apartment with a search, and Svetlana herself was taken away by the employees of the Department of Financial Investigations without any clothes or change of clothes. In the evening, Svetlana’s friend was told by phone that the woman had been detained and would be in the KGB pre-trial detention center. The next day, June 12, Kupreeva was interrogated, but she was not released from the pre-trial detention center.
Dmitry Karako was detained on June 18, 2020, together with Viktor Babariko. Both Kupreeva and Karako were charged with “large-scale tax evasion.”
On July 6, the Supreme Court of Belarus sentenced the former head of Belgazprombank Viktor Babariko to 14 years in prison. He was found guilty under two articles of the Criminal Code: accepting a bribe on an especially large scale (part 3 of article 430 of the Criminal Code) and money laundering (part 2 of article 235 of the Criminal Code). He is the only one of the eight defendants in the Belgazprombank case not to plead guilty to all the charges.
The trial was held in a semi-closed mode: relatives were allowed, but without phones and tablets, Babariko’s supporters were not allowed to go to court, and only loyal authorities accredited publications from the media.
In May 2020, Babariko left the post of head of Belgazprombank in connection with the decision to be nominated for the post of President of Belarus. He could not register as a candidate, since a criminal case was opened against him and arrested. At that time, he was considered the main rival of Lukashenka. Together with Babariko, his son Eduard, who was the head of the campaign headquarters, was arrested. He is still in pre-trial detention. The European Union and Germany called on the authorities in Minsk to immediately release Babariko.
Babariko’s lawyer Dmitry Laevsky, after the announcement of the verdict, said that the defense would seek the cancellation of this decision by all possible means. However, the Minsk Bar Association soon expelled Laevsky from its membership, and he can no longer defend Viktor Babariko and other prisoners.