Russia Monitor is a review of the most important events related to Russian internal and external security, as well as its foreign policies.
Date: 30 July 2020
Lukashenko and Elections: What’s Next for Belgazprombank?
Belgazprombank, a Russian-owned commercial bank based in Belarus, is now at the heart of pre-vote clampdown after its long-time CEO, Viktar Babaryka, was barred from running in the country’s presidential run-off. As investigators entered the bank, state authorities delivered a hint they seek new management board to be installed.
Pavel Kallaur, the chairman of Belarus’s central bank, said in an interview with a Belarusian state-run TV broadcaster that he was keen to team up with Russia to decide the fate of Belgazprombank. On June 15, Belarusian authorities took control of the bank, shortly after the Committee for State Control, or KDK, had opened a criminal case against employees of the bank, including its top managers. This sparked anger amongst Gazprom and Gazprombank officials, as these two Russian majors control the Belarus-based bank.
The Committee for State Control said on June 11 it had begun to carry out searches in the bank amidst the detainment of Viktor Babaryka, a potential top challenger to Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko in an upcoming presidential election and former head of Belgazprombank, who led the commercial bank for 20 years. Law enforcement officers opened criminal cases on suspicions of tax evasion and money laundering. Babaryka was arrested on June 18, along with his son and campaign manager, Eduard. As many as thirty other people were detained, of whom some were the bank’s executives. What Kallaur said might imply Minsk’s swift attempts to settle the spat over the Gazprom-controlled commercial bank.
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