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Khabarovsk governor’s arrest part of big political case, says party’s firebrand leader

According to Vladimir Zhirinovsky, Furgal’s arrest is related to the good results he achieved as governor from an opposition party

MOSCOW, July 9. /TASS/. The Liberal Democratic Party of Russia (LDPR) is outraged over the detention of Khabarovsk Region Governor Sergei Furgal, and it aims to defend its fellow party member, LDPR head Vladimir Zhirinovsky said on Thursday ahead of the Russian State Duma (lower house of parliament) plenary session.

"We are outraged by the fact that our governor Sergei Ivanovich Furgal was arrested in the morning. We will continue to defend him, to take part in all elections and seek victory," Zhirinovsky said. "This is a very big political case."

The firebrand lawmaker insisted that the arrest of the region’s head "will encourage our voters to cast their ballots for LDPR."

According to Zhirinovsky, Furgal’s arrest is related to the good results he achieved as governor from an opposition party. "If there had been murders in 2004, 2005, and if Sergei Ivanovich Furgal had allegedly been involved, why did you wait 15 years?" Zhirinovsky asked, noting that since then, Furgal has taken part in several election campaigns, and LDPR always checks the information about its candidates with the Russian law enforcement.

Sergei Furgal, the governor of Russia’s Far Eastern Khabarovsk Region, was detained near his house in the region’s administrative center of Khabarovsk, his press service informed earlier on Thursday. He has been transported to Moscow for questioning.

A source in the law enforcement told TASS that a criminal case under Article 210 of the Russian Criminal Code (Founding a criminal organization) might be opened. The source added that Furgal is allegedly behind the murders of two business competitors and the attempted assassination of an entrepreneur from the Amur Region. "These crimes have been committed by a group of persons in collusion, they involve assault, extortion and gang violence," the source said, adding that a killer was hired to conduct those crimes. In 2004, entrepreneur Yevgeny Zorya was shot in Khabarovsk on a street. In 2005, businessman Oleg Bulatov was shot.