Russia arrests regional governor in probe of businessmen murders

Members of Russian security forces detain Governor of Khabarovsk Region Sergei Furgal. Investigative Committee of Russia pic via REUTERS
Members of Russian security forces detain Governor of Khabarovsk Region Sergei Furgal. Investigative Committee of Russia pic via REUTERS

MOSCOW, July 9 — Russian investigators today arrested the governor of a far eastern region on suspicion he arranged to have a number of businessmen murdered.

Investigators said Sergei Furgal, governor of the Khabarovsk region, was suspected of crimes that took place between 2004 and 2005 in Russia’s far east.

Furgal, 50, is suspected of being the “organiser of murder and attempted murder of a number of entrepreneurs,” the Investigative Committee, which probes major crimes, said in a statement.

The FSB security service took part in his arrest, Russian television reported.

Komsomolskaya Pravda tabloid newspaper reported that the case concerns two murders and one attempted murder with one of the murder victims Furgal’s former business partner.

Investigators have already arrested four others over the same case and they are in detention, the paper reported.

State news broadcasts showed a group of masked law enforcement officials in camouflage pulling Furgal from the backseat of an SUV in a driveway.

Furgal was detained close to his home as he prepared to leave for work, the governor’s press service wrote on his Instagram page.

Furgal was elected in 2018 as a representative of the nationalist LDPR party, securing 70 percent of the vote against the ruling party incumbent in an embarrassing result for the party backing President Vladimir Putin.

His press service wrote on Furgal’s Instagram, which has over 230,000 followers: “Currently nothing is known of his whereabouts.”

According to his official biography, Furgal, a former doctor, was a businessman from 1999 until taking office as a local lawmaker in 2005.

A coordinator for LDPR, led since the 1990s by firebrand politician Vladimir Zhirinovsky, said that there were no plans to expel Furgal, TASS state news agency reported.

Furgal did not have time to appoint anyone to temporarily replace him, his press service said. — AFP

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