31 Jan 2019 15:29

Five suspects being questioned in Raul Arashukov case - Investigative Committee

MOSCOW. Jan 31 (Interfax) - Five suspects, including Raul Arashukov, the father of Russian senator Rauf Arashukov, who was also recently arrested, are being interviewed as part of a criminal investigation into the creation of a criminal group and the misappropriation of 30 billion rubles from Gazprom, the Investigative Committee's press service said.

"As part of the criminal case into the misappropriation of natural gas worth over 30 billion rubles from Gazprom, investigators of the Investigative Committee's main office are questioning Raul Arashukov, Ruslan Arashukov, Guzer Khashukayev, Nikolai Romanov, and Igor Travinov as suspects and taking other investigative measures today," the press service said.

Investigators will soon ask a court to arrest the suspects, it said.

"Depending on each person's role, they are suspected of fraud and the establishment of a criminal group and participation in it (Part 4 of Article 159 and Article 210 of the Russian Penal Code)," the press service said.

Rauf Arashukov, who represents the Republic of Karachayevo-Cherkessia, was detained early on January 30 at a plenary session of the Federation Council after Prosecutor General Yury Chaika asked Federation Council members for their consent to strip him of his immunity from prosecution and take him in custody.

His father, Raul Arashukov, was detained in St. Petersburg the same day.

Moscow's Basmanny Court later remanded Rauf Arashukov in custody until March 30.

He was charged with involvement in a criminal group, two counts of conspiracy to organize a murder for personal gain, and exerting pressure on a witness.

Investigators believe that the senator may have been involved in the murder of Aslan Zhukov, the deputy chairman of the youth movement Adyge-Khase in Karachayevo-Cherkessia, the murder of Fral Shebzukhov, an advisor to Karachayevo-Cherkessia's president, and the beating of an witness to Zhukov's murder.

According to investigators, Rauf Arashukov was also a member of a criminal group set up by his father, who was detained on suspicion of establishing an organized criminal group and large-scale fraud.

According to the case files, Raul Arashukov set up the criminal group in order to steal natural gas from Gazprom. More than 30 billion rubles' worth of natural gas was stolen over several years.

The senator's lawyer Yevgeny Ustin said that his client denies any wrongdoing.