Russian senator arrested in parliament over murder allegations | News | DW | 30.01.2019
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Russian senator arrested in parliament over murder allegations

During a parliamentary session, Russian lawmaker Rauf Arashukov was stripped of immunity and arrested over two murders committed in 2010. After his arrest, he claimed to have insufficient knowledge of Russian.

A Moscow court ordered two months of pre-trial detention for ruling party lawmaker Rauf Arashukov on Wednesday, hours after he was arrested during a session of the Federation Council, the upper chamber of Russia's parliament.

The 32-year-old senator is suspected of involvement in murders of two high-ranking officials from his Muslim-dominated state of Karachay-Cherkessia, as well trying to pressure a witness to one of the 2010 killings.

During the Wednesday plenary, senators voted in favor of stripping Arashukov of his immunity after Russian Prosecutor General Yuri Yakovlevich Chaika requested the move.

Arashukov tried to flee the room at one point, but the exit was blocked by security, according to sources cited by the TASS agency.

Following his arrest, he claimed to have insufficient knowledge of Russian, prompting investigators to provide him with a translator.

Brutal beating

Russia's Investigative Committee believes Arashukov is involved in the murders of Karachay-Cherkessia presidential advisor Fral Shebzuhov and the deputy leader of state's youth movement, Aslan Zhukov.

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Arashukov is also suspected of a brutal beating of a local deputy who reportedly gathered evidence against him in September 2018, according to a source cited by Interfax.

Some Russian media outlets also reported Arashukov tampered with his United Arab Emirates residence permit to bypass the residency requirements needed to serve as senator in Russia.

Arashukov rejects the allegations.

Father and cousin also behind bars

Arashukov's father, Raul, was also detained on Wednesday in one of the offices of state gas giant Gazprom. The elder Arashukov currently serves as advisor to the CEO of a Gazprom subsidiary.

He is suspected of large scale embezzlement as well as creating a joint criminal enterprise that involved his son. According to investigators, Raul and several other accomplices misappropriated over 30 billion rubles ($455 million, €398.5 million) of Gazprom funds.

The younger Arashukov's cousin, another senior manager at the subsidiary, was also detained.

"The suspects would make deals to deliver (…) more gas than what consumers needed," Investigative Committee representative Svetlana Petrenko told reporters. "They would then steal gas, selling it to companies and individuals for cash payments."

A silhouette of a man is seen in front of GAZPROM logo during the 22nd World Petroleum Congress at Lutfi Kirdar International Convention and Exhibition Center in Istanbul, Turkey on July 12, 2017 (picture-alliance/AA/B. Ozkan)

Rauf Arashukov and his father worked for a subsidiary of state gas giant Gazprom

Ascent to the Federal Council

The younger Arashukov first became labor and social development minister in Karachay-Cherkessia, which borders Georgia, at the age of 21.

After a brief stint in the state government, he started working at the Gazprom subsidiary where his father worked.

In September 2016, he took up the post of Karachay-Cherkessia senator in the Federation Council.

dj/amp (dpa, Interfax)

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