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Father of Russian senator detained in $450 mln gas theft criminal probe

The Russian Investigative Committee has implicated Rauf Arashukov, a senator from the Karachay-Circassian Region in two murders in 2010
Raul Arashukov Piotr Kovalev/TASS
Raul Arashukov
© Piotr Kovalev/TASS

MOSCOW, January 30. /TASS/. Investigators have detained adviser to the chief executive of a Gazprom subsidiary Raul Arashukov suspected of embezzling natural gas worth 30 billion rubles ($450 million), spokeswoman for Russia’s Investigative Committee Svetlana Petrenko told TASS on Wednesday.

"As part of the criminal probe into establishing a criminal community and stealing natural gas from Gazprom, committing two murders and other crimes, member of the Federation Council from the Karachay-Circassian Region Rauf Arashukov was detained. Also, as part of the criminal probe, his father, Raul Arashukov, was detained on suspicion of his complicity in the thefts of Gazprom’s natural gas over several years in the amount of over 30 billion rubles, according to investigators," the spokeswoman said.

The Investigative Committee has opened the criminal cases pursuant to part 2 and part 3, article 210 of Russia’s Criminal Code ("Establishing and Participating in a Criminal Organization") and pursuant to part 4, article 159 of Russia’s Criminal Code ("Fraud Committed by an Organized Group or a Large-Scale Fraud") into the theft of natural gas supplied to the North Caucasian Federal District.

If convicted, the perpetrators may face a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison for establishing a criminal community and a fine of up to 1 million rubles ($15,000) and 10 years behind the bars for the fraud and a fine of 1 million rubles.

The Investigative Committee is holding large-scale investigative measures together with the Federal Security Service (FSB) in Moscow, St. Petersburg, Stavropol, Makhachkala, Nevinnomysk, Buddyonovsk, Astrakhan and other Russian cities as part of the criminal probe, the spokeswoman said.

"The investigators are establishing other episodes of the suspects’ criminal activity and identifying other persons who may be complicit in the crimes being investigated," Petrenko said.

Earlier on Wednesday, the Russian Investigative Committee implicated Rauf Arashukov, a senator from the Karachay-Circassian Region in two murders in 2010. The first murder was that of Aslan Zhukov, deputy chairman of the public youth movement Adyge Khase and the second was for the murder of Fral Shebzukhov, advisor to the head of the Karachay-Circassian Region.

After the Federation Council had studied the report submitted by the general prosecutor on January 30, a decision was made to strip Arashukov of immunity as a Federation Council legislator in the first such instance in the history of the upper house of Russia’s parliament, and officially implicate him as the defendant.

A source familiar with the matter told TASS that Senator Rauf Arashukov did not admit his guilt.

"He says he is not guilty of anything and hopes for a fair investigation," the source said.

The father of Senator Rauf Arashukov, Raul Arashukov, also does not admit his guilt, the source said.

"Raul Arashukov does not admit his guilt in the crime he is charged with," the source said.