MINSK, November 11. /TASS/. The Belarusian Investigative Committee has announced that funds transferred to the country to finance protest rallies were arrested, while Alexei Leonchik, one of the founders of BY_help, is qualified as a suspect in the criminal case.
"In the course of the investigation information was received from the State Control Committee’s Department of Financial Investigations that proves Alexei Leonchik committed acts aimed at destabilizing public order. He was recognized as a suspect in the criminal case," the Investigative Committee said in a message on Telegram.
According to the investigation, "funds were transferred from an account he [Leonchik - TASS] controls in a Western bank to support protest rallies in Belarus and provide material assistance to people that take an active part in them." The agency added that these funds were arrested to stop further criminal activities. The Investigative Committee continues probing into the details of unauthorized mass events' financing.
On November 10, Leonchik said via Facebook that "mass blocking of accounts of recipients of our help" upon demands of authorities and state agencies began. Later, one of the co-founders of BY_help Andrei Strizhak told tut.by portal that more than 1.4 million Belarusian rubles ($545,000) was arrested in total.
Nationwide demonstrations have engulfed Belarus following the August 9 presidential election. According to the Central Election Commission’s official results, incumbent President Alexander Lukashenko won by a landslide, garnering 80.10% of the vote. His closest rival in the race, Svetlana Tikhanovskaya, came in second, with 10.12% of the ballot. However, she refused to recognize the election’s outcome, and left Belarus for Lithuania. After the results of the exit polls were announced late on August 9, mass protests erupted in downtown Minsk and other Belarusian cities. During the early post-election period, the rallies snowballed into fierce clashes between the protesters and police. The current unrest is being cheered on by the opposition’s Coordination Council, which has been beating the drum for more protests. In response, the Belarusian authorities have castigated the ongoing turmoil and demanded that these unauthorized demonstrations be stopped.