27 Jan 2020 17:26

Moscow City Court extends ex-senator Arashukov's arrest for 3 more months

MOSCOW. Jan 27 (Interfax) - The Moscow City Court has granted a motion by investigators to extend the arrest of former Federation Council member representing Karachayevo-Cherkessia Rauf Arashukov, who is charged with participating in a criminal group and organizing murders, until April 24, an Interfax correspondent reported.

"The court ruled to extend the period of defendant Arashukov's custody until April 24, 2020," Judge Yekaterina Astafyeva said, reading the ruling.

The court ruled to extend the arrest of the former lawmaker's father, ex-adviser to the CEO of Gazprom Mezhregiongaz Raul Arashukov, and former deputy director of Gazprom Gazoraspredeleniye Stavropol Nikolai Romanov until the same date.

The court thus dismissed the motions by their defense teams.

The prosecutor endorsed the investigators' motion.

Raul and Rauf Arashukov were detained in January 2019, after the Federation Council approved the decision to strip the senator of his immunity.

Rauf Arashukov has been charged with involvement in a criminal community, two counts of organizing killings by previous concert for motives of personal gain, and pressuring a witness.

Investigators believe Arashukov could be involved in the killings of Aslan Zhukov, chairman of the public youth movement Adyge-Khase of the Karachayevo-Cherkess Republic, and Fral Shebzukhov, an adviser to the head of the republic, as well as the beating of a witness to Zhukov's killing.

Additionally, investigators believe that the ex-senator was a member of a criminal ring organized by his father. The latter has been indicted for setting up a criminal community and large-scale fraud.

Investigators believe Raul Arashukov set up a criminal community to manipulate gas belonging to Gazprom, which resulted in more than 30-billion-rubles' worth of gas being stolen over several years.

In October 2019, four new criminal cases of misappropriation and embezzlement of roughly 775 million rubles were opened against Raul Arashukov.

One of the cases features Kamilla Agoyeva, the daughter of Raul Arashukov and sister of ex-senator Rauf Arashukov, while Nelli Arashukova, the wife of Raul Arashukov and Rauf's mother, is implicated in a different case.

Investigators believe that the women held bogus jobs at an enterprise of the Stavropol Territory's gas sector, for which Agoyeva was illegally paid roughly 12 million rubles in wages and Arashukova was illegally paid some 2.9 million rubles in wages.

The Arashukovs have denied any wrongdoing. Rauf Arashukov said that he considers the investigation to be politically motivated.

The Arashukov family left Russia after the criminal cases were opened and the former senator's mother and sister were declared wanted.

In addition to the father and the son, more than 25 individuals are implicated in the Arashukov case. They are charged with participation in a criminal community and embezzlement. Some of the people implicated in the case are on the wanted list.