Updated at 17:58,28-05-2022

Detentions, Corruption And Paintings. Overview Of Belgazprombank Case


Detentions, Corruption And Paintings. Overview Of Belgazprombank Case
Viktor Babariko
On Thursday, 11 June, security officials raided Gazprombank, which had been headed by Viktor Babariko, one of President Alexander Lukashenko’s main rivals in a presidential election. Shortly afterwards, the president accused his political rival of corruption.

Here’s a brief look at what the criminal case against the local unit of Russia’s Gazprombank and its employees looks like.

- After searches in Belgazprombank and private companies, the headquarters of presidential contender Viktor Babariko (the ex-head of Belgazprombank) reported that the coordinator of the initiative group for the Mogilev region Vladimir Dudarev, as well as the head of the Mogilev branch of the bank Sergey Karmyzov, were detained.
- Later Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko said that “about 15 people” were detained. “When his accomplices were sent to jail last night, they told everything. In two hours they brought $14 thousand, then another $600 thousand or $800 thousand. There were gold bars, paintings, they brought it all right away just to leave them alone,” the president said. At the same time, he noted this is not a flak by Lukashenko.

- Also, Belgazprombank’s top managers and former bank employees were detained. The chairman of the State Control Committee Ivan Turtel said: “We have evidence of his (Babariko’s – TUT.BY note) involvement in this illegal activity.”

- Viktor Babariko held an emergency stream in the evening, where he stated: “If the money mentioned by Alexander Grigoryevich Lukashenko was found at my friends, then I officially declare: this is my money <…>. I am a banker and not used to put everything in one basket. I needed to spread resources in case of unforeseen actions.”

- Meanwhile, the National Bank of Belarus introduced its administration in Belgazprombank. Nadezhda Ermakova, the ex-head of the National Bank, was appointed head of the temporary administration.
- The Russian Gazprombank and Gazprom, the shareholders of Belgazprombank, declared a violation of the law by the National Bank of Belarus, they intend to “seek protection of their rights and legitimate interests by all available legal means, and also take all possible measures to protect the interests of customers and ensure the bank’s financial stability.”

- Belgazprombank blocked payments on MolaMola fundraising platfrom.
- On 14 June, 150 paintings (by Chagall, Soutine, Bakst, Tsarfin, Lubich etc.) totaling about $20 million from Belgazprombank’s corporate collection were submitted into evidence of the case against the bank. According to the Belarus-1 news report, the paintings were prepared for smuggling out of the country. Belgazprombank started its collection in 2011, the owner paid customs duty when importing artworks and had no problems with the tax authorities. The aim of the project was to return the works of representatives of the Paris School – natives of Belarus – to their homeland.