MOSCOW, July 9./TASS/. The Russian Investigative Committee has charged Khabarovsk Region Governor Sergei Furgal with organizing murders, Spokesperson Svetlana Petrenko told journalists on Thursday.
"The Investigative Committee’s Main Department for Especially Important Cases has charged Khabarovsk Region Governor Sergei Furgal," she said, adding that he had been questioned as a defendant.
According to the investigation, the governor is involved in organizing murders and attempted murders of entrepreneurs by an organized criminal group in the Khabarovsk and Amur regions in 2004-2005. A law enforcement source has told TASS about at least two murders and an attempted murder featured in the case. On Friday, the Investigative Committee will ask Moscow’s Basmanny Court to arrest Furgal. Meanwhile, he will spend the night in a detention center. The source said that the governor refused to plead guilty.
According to Petrenko, several individuals, accused of murdering businessmen in the Far East, testified against Furgal, saying that he had ordered the murders. Law enforcement agencies also have testimonies from witnesses. The Investigative Committee also plans to try to figure out if he was involved in other serious crimes. Last November, four suspected accomplices of Furgal were detained and arrested.
Furgal ordered the murders of his two business rivals, as well as an assassination attempt on a businessman from the Amur region. Businessman Yevgeny Zorya was shot down in Khabarovsk in 2004 and businessman Oleg Bulatov was murdered in 2005, the source said.
Officers from the Investigative Committee and the Federal Security Service (FSB) detained the governor in the city of Khabarovsk on Thursday morning. A police source told TASS that a criminal case under Article 210 of the Russian Criminal Code (creation of a criminal community) could be opened against the governor.