Updated at 11:44,21-11-2017

KGB completes investigation into charges against businessman Yapryntsaw, his son

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The Committee for State Security (KGB) has completed an investigation into criminal charges against Uladzimir Yapryntsaw, deputy director general of Triple, and his son Kazbek, Dzmitry Pabyarzhyn, spokesman for the KGB, told BelaPAN on Friday.

“The investigation has been completed. The defendants and their lawyers are studying the case file,” Mr. Pabyarzhyn said.

According to him, Uladzimir and Kazbek Yapryntsaw, who are being held in the KGB detention center in Minsk, face charges of fraud under Part Four of the Criminal Code’s Article 209 and, if found guilty as charged, may be sentenced to up to 10 years in prison.

Uladzimir and Kazbek Yapryntsaw were reportedly arrested in August last year. While speaking to reporters on March 15, KGB chief Valery Vakulchyk said that it was Yury Chyzh, the owner of the Triple conglomerate, who reported illegal activities by Uladzimir Yapryntsaw, his longtime business partner. A probe was launched at the request of Mr. Chyzh and his two Russian business partners, said General Vakulchyk.

At the time of his arrest, the 54-year-old Uladzimir Yapryntsaw chaired the Belarusian Sambo Federation and the Belarusian Judo Federation.

The probe into Mr. Yapryntsaw’s alleged offenses reportedly led to criminal proceedings against Mr. Chyzh himself, who was arrested on March 11, along with several executives of the Triple conglomerate.

Mr. Chyzh and the executives have been charged with felony tax evasion, an offense penalized under Part Two of the Criminal Code’s Article 243, and are being held in the KGB detention center as well.

Triple, which was founded in 1992 as a limited liability company dealing in the wholesale of industrial and food products, has since grown into a conglomerate that runs construction, building materials, non-alcoholic beverage, retail chain customs services, restaurant and other businesses.

Mr. Chyzh is often described as the wealthiest businessman in Belarus.

In March 2012, the European Union added Mr. Chyzh to the list of Belarusian individuals subject to an entry ban and an asset freeze for their role in Alyaksandr Lukashenka’s crackdown on political opponents.

In October 2015, the EU General Court abolished the restrictive measures against Mr. Chyzh and entities controlled by him, including the soccer club FC Dynama Minsk.

After considering the Belarusian business tycoon's lawsuit seeking the abolition of the sanctions, the Court found that the Council of the European Union had "provided no evidence showing that Mr. Chyzh financially supported" the Lukashenka regime and ruled that the sanctions were not justified.

In 2013, Mr. Chyzh was awarded the Third-Class Order of the Fatherland by Mr. Lukashenka.