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18 April 2022, 13:59

Lukashenko reveals details of criminal case against multiple Belarusian medics

Aleksandr Lukashenko and Dmitry Pinevich
Aleksandr Lukashenko and Dmitry Pinevich

MINSK, 18 April (BelTA) – Multiple Belarusian orthopedic surgeons have been charged with a number of crimes and have been arrested. The criminal case was discussed during the government conference hosted by Belarus President Aleksandr Lukashenko on 18 April, BelTA has learned.

Healthcare Minister Dmitry Pinevich, Prosecutor General Andrei Shved, and Chairman of the State Security Committee (KGB) Ivan Tertel came to deliver their reports to the head of state.

Aleksandr Lukashenko said: “I know the progress of this operation very well. I kept an eye on it. It didn't start today or yesterday. I'd warned the healthcare minister about it. But as of today 35 people [have been arrested]. And I am convinced that more people should be arrested together with them. Nobody is going to dissuade me from it. They didn't simply hint to people in need of surgeries what imported orthopedic replacement parts they need but took considerable bribes from foreigners. Sums as large as €300,000, €650,000 were found after searching some of their houses.”

When the healthcare minister asked what would happen to the arrested medics, Aleksandr Lukashenko invited Dmitry Pinevich to go to the pre-trial detention center and talk to each of them. The head of state said: “Are you telling me that you've personally approached every one of them? I'd like to decide on what we are going to do with these people in the presence of our key law enforcer – the prosecutor general. I know you wanted to bail them out. Not pardon them but vouch for them after they compensate for the huge damage the state has incurred. Send them to work in some organization at your discretion. Naturally in the field they've been trained. I am sad that the president's doctor, who has repeatedly examined the president, is one of them. I am saddened by the fact but the law is the same for all.”

“The first question is what we are going to do with the half of a hundred people, who have been caught taking bribes from foreign frauds and ours, who represented German companies and other ones and split this money,” Aleksandr Lukashenko added. “I said I'd kept an eye on it for a reason. We detected this process a long time ago. And I didn't want intelligence agencies to report it to me without proof. But when they gather up in a restaurant, drink alcohol and a representative of a foreign company hands out bribes in an envelope (naturally on camera) and when I get the report about it, what am I supposed to do? They should think how they should live from now on. We will try to decide on it today.”

The president expects this criminal case will teach a lesson to the Healthcare Ministry and the minister. “Because you know I hate putting up with it and the man at the wheel should be held accountable for it. I've talked about it more than once. This is why, Dmitry Leonidovich [Pinevich], I told you for a reason to go to the pre-trial detention center and deal with them on your own. We will see what you will suggest here,” the head of state said.

In 2018 the State Security Committee reported that the director of the National Applied Science Center for Traumatology and Orthopedics Aleksandr Beletsky had been arrested and the equivalent of about $500,000 had been found in his stashes back then.

The medic was arrested and put in detention for organizing the maintenance and repairs of medical equipment by commercial companies in addition for timely payments for services rendered.

The State Security Committee has arrested over 30 officials on charges specified by article 430 “Bribe taking”, article 431 “Bribe giving”, and article 243 “Tax evasion” of the Criminal Code. The criminal case targets a total of over 60 people. It is believed that they have taken illegal monetary rewards many times for facilitating the acquisition of medical equipment and medications at inflated prices. The accusations are confirmed by results of a lengthy investigation, testimonies given by witnesses and by the accused, results of searches and seizures.

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