All news

Belarusian Belgazprombank’s Babariko charged with taking bribes, money laundering

All suspects fully acknowledged their guilt, save for Babariko, according to the investigators

MINSK, November 24. /TASS/. Belgazprombank ex-CEO Viktor Babariko has been charged with major bribery and money laundering, Belarusian State Security Committee (KGB) press service announced Tuesday.

"The KGB Investigative Directorate has completed the preliminary investigation against the Belgazprombank top management. […] The organizer of the criminal activity, former Belgazprombank CEO Viktor Babariko <...> has been charged with receiving bribes on an especially large scale by an organized group and legalization of criminally obtained funds on an especially large scale," the announcement reads.

The bank’s Deputy CEOs Sergei Shaban, Alexander Ilyasyuk, Kirill Badey, Dmitry Kuzmich, as well as former First Deputy CEO Alexei Zadoyko and former Deputy CEO Sergei Dobrolet have been charged with bribery.

According to the KGB, Babariko denied all charges. "All suspects fully acknowledged their guilt, save for Babariko," the security agency said.

The Belagazprombank case

On June 11, the State Control Committee reported searches in Belgazprombank. The Committee’s Financial Investigations Department initiated a criminal case over charges of tax evasion on an especially large scale and money laundering on an especially large scale; 15 people were apprehended over the case, the authorities reported at the time.

Babariko, who participated in the presidential race this year, but was not registered as a candidate, claimed that the situation around the bank was political.

On June 15, the National Bank of Belarus introduced an interim administration to Belgazprombank over the criminal case against the bank’s top management. Later, the interim administration chairwoman Nadezhda Yermakova claimed that Russian shareholders (Gazprom and Gazprombank) refused to cooperate with the interim administration. The two companies, who hold 49,818% of shares each, claimed that the imposition of the interim administration on the Belarusian bank was illegal.

Earlier Tuesday, Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko met with Yermakova, who said that the new board could be formed in December. In response, Lukashenko vowed that the government will do everything necessary to keep the bank afloat. He also disclosed that he discussed the bank’s operation with Russian President Vladimir Putin.