A governor in Russia could spend his life in jail for allegedly organising the slay of some 15 entrepreneurs about 15 years ago.
Sergey Furgal, 50, currently the governor of far-eastern Khabarovsk Territory, was accused of arranging an attempted murder and the killing of businessmen from 2004 to 2005, according to a report by Al Jazeera quoting Investigative Committee, Russia’s top investigative body.
Images on Thursday showed Russian authorities captured Furgal clad in a suit and tie.
He was being pulled from a black sports utility vehicle and forced into a van by camouflaged and masked officers.
He was brought to Moscow for further investigative proceedings. If found guilty, Furgal could spend his entire life behind bars.
Officials from the Investigative Committee and the Federal Security Service are reportedly cooperating in the case.
Furgal, a member of the populist Liberal Democratic Party of Russia (LDPR), assumed office in 2018 when he defeated the longtime incumbent, Vyacheslav Shport, who had represented the United Russia party, the most loyal group to President Vladimir Putin.
The LDPR was also supportive of Putin, but Furgal was reportedly elected upon a rise of anti-establishment sentiment in the region.
When federal investigators said in the 2000s that he was involved in the crime, Furgal managed a lumber firm and ran a scrap-metal business.
In 2005, he joined LDPR and became a deputy in the territory’s legislative assembly. Two years after, he was elected to a seat in Russia’s Duma state.
In March last year, Russian authorities arrested Viktor Ishaev, who was Khabarovsk’s first governor, allegedly for stealing money from oil giant Rosneft.
Ishaev was said to have supported Furgal’s successful election bid.
The former governor is currently under house arrest while his case is being heard.
“This is a very big political case,” LDPR leader Vladimir Zhirinovsky said in comments carried by Russian state news agency TASS, adding that the party would defend Furgal.
Meanwhile, the Investigative Committee said that four members of the organised criminal group which had links to Furgal and were committed in Khabarovsk and neighbouring Amur region, have been put behind bars for their role in the killing.
PHOTO FROM FLICKR