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Prosecutor seeking 15-year prison term for ex-head of Belgazprombank Babariko

 MINSK: The state prosecutor has asked the court to sentence former head of Belgazprombank and former Belarusian presidential contender Viktor Babariko to 15 years in a penal colony, the Viasna unregistered human rights center said on Tuesday. 

"Prosecutor Sergei Girgel has demanded 15 years for political prisoner and ex-banker Viktor Babariko, who has been charged with accepting a massive bribe (Part 3 of Article 430 of the Criminal Code) and money laundering (Part 2 of Article 235)," Viasna said on Telegram. 

Babariko has pleaded not guilty to all charges, it said. 



 Babariko resigned as Belgazprombank CEO in May 2020, as he was planning to run for president. He was never registered as a presidential candidate, as a criminal case was opened against him, and he was placed under arrest. 

Babariko's son Eduard, who headed the former banker's campaign staff, was arrested along with him. 

The Belarusian Supreme Court began hearing the Belgazprombank case on February 17. Former top managers of the bank have been charged with a major bribe-taking conspiracy.

 Another defendant in this criminal case, the co-owner and head of the Activleasing company, a Belgazprombank client, faces charges of giving a bribe of $2.476 million to bank officials.

 Babariko has been accused of being in charge of a criminal network of his deputies. The investigators said that Belgazprombank's top managers, acting to the benefit of certain business enterprises, received illegal remuneration from those entities between 2004 and 2020.

 All defendants but Babariko have pleaded guilty as charged.

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