Ex-contender for the presidency of Belarus, banker and philanthropist Viktor Babariko, speaking in court with his last word, said that he had not committed any crimes.
On July 6, the Supreme Court of Belarus is to pronounce a verdict on Babariko and several other defendants in the so-called “Belgazprombank case”.
“Despite the fact that, probably, recognition … would be more correct from the point of view of material benefits, I cannot confess to crimes that I did not commit. Within the framework of our communication [с коллегами по работе – Би-би-си] there was not a single not only illegal action or compulsion, but even no hint of the possibility of committing illegal actions, “Babariko said.
Babariko, 57, headed the board of directors of Belgazprombank, a subsidiary of the Russian Gazprombank, for 20 years. Under him, the bank donated significant funds for the treatment of sick children and the support of culture.
On May 12, 2020, he put forward his candidacy for the presidential elections in Belarus, scheduled for August. In late May, polls predicted a landslide victory in the first round. On June 18, Babariko was arrested on charges of tax evasion, money laundering and bribery.
Amnesty International recognized Viktor Babariko, his son Eduard and other defendants in the Belgazprombank case as prisoners of conscience.
The prosecutor asked for Babariko for 15 years in prison – the maximum punishment provided for by the Criminal Code of Belarus under the articles that are incriminated to him.
The prosecution asks for other defendants in the case from three to six and a half years in prison, and one of the accused was proposed by the prosecutor to impose a restriction of freedom due to his chronic illness.