Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko’s main political rival in presidential election Viktor Babariko and his son were detained.
According to the head of the State Control Committee (KGC), Ivan Tertel, Viktor Babariko was detained in connection with the fact that he was “a direct organiser, a leader of illegal activities”.
He was particularly accused of trying to influence witnesses, hiding previous crimes and siphoning $430 million out of Belarus in money-laundering schemes, including the one in Latvian bank ABVL.
Meanwhile, Babariko’s lawyers said they were not allowed into the building where he was taken. Besides, law enforcement officials were conducting searches at Babariko’s houses. According to unofficial reports, Viktor and his son Eduard were both sent to the KGB pre-trial detention centre.
Babariko has yet to formally register for the presidential race. His campaign has collected 425,000 signatures, while a minimum of 100,000 is needed for the nomination. Recall that Babariko is an ex-head of Belgazprombank, whose offices were raided last Thursday in a tax evasion case.
15 bank employees were detained and the bank was taken into temporary administration.
Another election candidate Svetlana Tikhanovskaya (who decided to run after her husband Sergey Tikhanovsky had been detained) said that she recieved threatening phone calls but would continue her campaign. Recall that President Lukashenko is seeking a sixth term in the 9 August vote.
Source: TUT.BY; The preview image: Viktar Babaryka’s Instagram account