Updated at 17:58,12-04-2021

Former hockey executive Berazhkow released from custody

By Dzmitry Ulasaw, BelaPAN

Uladzimir Berazhkow, a prominent journalist and former general manager of hockey club HC Dinamo Minsk, was released from custody on Wednesday after spending almost eight months in a pretrial detention center.

When reached by BelaPAN, the 50-year-old Berazhkow said that he was in good health. He said that he was prohibited from giving details of his release.

Pyotr Kisyalyow, spokesman for the Prosecutor General's Office, told BelaPAN that Mr. Berazhkow had been released on his own recognizance, after «compensating for the damage [caused by his actions], helping the investigation and repenting.»

It was not immediately known whether Maksim Subotkin, a former director general of HC Dinamo Minsk who was arrested days before Mr. Berazhkow, was still in custody.

Mr. Berazhkow was apprehended on August 13, 2015 on suspicion of power abuse and formally charged 13 days later with stealing 1,090 million rubels ($61,000 at that time) from Dinamo Minsk.

Police officials said that the club had illegally hired an acquaintance of Mr. Berazhkow at the latter's request and transferred more than one billion rubels to his bank account.

Mr. Berazhkow reportedly withdrew the money from the man's account from July 2014 through June 2015.

Mr. Subotkin was arrested at the end of July 2015 and charged with power abuse that caused large-scale damage to the club.

The ex-manager is accused of establishing a Dinamo-controlled marketing company without permission from the club's supervisory board, and receiving a monthly compensation of 45 million rubels as the company's director although it carried out no operations. In addition, he allegedly ordered the club to pay 400 million rubels to the company for «advisory services» that were never provided.

On February 1, Yuliya Hancharova, spokesperson for the Investigative Committee, said that Messrs. Berazhkow and Subotkin had paid more than three billion rubels to the state in compensation for the damage caused by their actions and asked to be exempted from criminal prosecution.

Ivan Naskevich, head of the Investigative Committee of Belarus, said later that month that the pair had appealed to Alyaksandr Lukashenka for a presidential pardon.