Arms trader BelTechExport has confirmed that its parent company is no longer controlled by Belarusian businessman Uladzimir Piefcijeu.
In a statement posted on the website, the company says that a controlling stake in BelTech Holding — of which BelTechExport is part — is now held by Russian businessman Dmitry Gurinovich, while Mr. Piefcijeu"has fully ended his involvement in the activity of the said group of companies".
The statement says that the deal has been carried out "in the framework of integration between Belarus and Russia in the sphere of military-technical cooperation" and "is evidence of the two countries’ bigger openness".
The company described its new owner as a graduate of the Russian Academy of Civil Service that operates under the aegis of the Russian President.
Some online media outlets reported in May that in the early 2000s, Mr. Gurinovich was employed by mobile phone company Velcom as an advisor to the owner — the position held by Mr. Piefcijeu at that time.
Mr. Gurinovich is said to be a nephew of Nadzeja Jermakova, head of the National Bank of Belarus.
In June last year, the EU blacklisted BelTechExport, lottery operator Sport-Pary and telecommunications company BT Telekamunikatsyi (BT Telecommunications), believed to be controlled by Mr. Piefcijeu.
Mr. Piefcijeu was described as Aliaksandr Lukashenka's chief economic advisor and a key financial sponsor of his regime. The EU also imposed a travel ban and asset freeze on Mr. Piefcijeu.
The businessman filed a lawsuit with the EU Court of Justice to fight the sanctions.