MOSCOW, February 18. /TASS/. Former head of Belgazprombank Viktor Babariko’s trial is Belarus’ domestic affair and Russia has no plans to interfere in it, Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters on Thursday.
"It’s a Belarusian domestic affair," he pointed out. "It is a situation when we are not going to interfere in Belarus’ internal judicial affairs in any way," Peskov added.
When asked to comment on Minsk’s statements that the case related to some "Kremlin puppet masters," the Russian presidential spokesman promised to study the statements. "If there indeed were such statements, then [the Russian and Belarusian presidents] will have a chance to discuss this, among other things, at a meeting on February 22," Peskov noted.
On February 17, the Belarusian Supreme Court rejected an appeal filed by Babariko’s defense team, which called for replacing custody with a softer restrictive measure.
On Wednesday, the Belarusian Supreme Court started hearings of a case against the former top managers of Belgazprombank, charged with bribery and money laundering. There are eight defendants in the case, including Babariko. Another six defendants earlier made plea agreements.
On June 11, 2020, the Belarusian State Control Committee announced searches in Belgazprombank. The committee’s Department of Financial Investigations opened a criminal case under Article 243.2 (major tax evasion) and 235.2 (large-scale money laundering). The authorities said that 15 people, including Babariko, had been detained in the case.
Babariko, who sought to participate in the 2020 presidential election in Belarus but was not registered as a presidential candidate, believes that the case is politically motivated.