The trial of iconic Belarusian fashion designer Sasha (Aliaksandr) Varlamau has begun today at Leninski district court in the House of Justice, in the room where Dzmitry Kanavalau and Uladzislaw Kavaliow stood trial in the autumn of 2011. Mr Varlamau is accused of fraud, tax evasion, theft of extremely large amounts of money and self-dealing.
57-year-old Varlamau seems to have grown older before his time. He uses a walking cane and moves with difficulty. According to his sister, Mr. Varlamau underwent three spine surgeries and was registered as having a third-degree disability on the day of his arrest.
The number of case materials reach 147 volumes. More than 800 people were questioned as witnesses, 353 being recognised injured persons. The damage allegedly caused by Mr Varlamau has been estimated at more than 1.2 billion rubels ($141,000).
At the start of the year of 2012 investigators said that the fashion designer had received money compensation for living and travelling costs from parents of the children involved in fashion shows abroad while these expenses were being covered through the budget.
Varlamau was detained on May 20, 2011. His Russian colleagues immediately made a stand for him doubting his vested interests. “Conducting global projects is very pricey; it is not always subjected to accurate accounting reporting. There might have been some errors because of the accountants’ incompetence,” Tatsiana Mikhalkova, chairperson of charity fund “Russian Silhouette”, said.
Before his arrest the couturier repeatedly alleged that the state had never assisted him in organising the festival: he had not even been paid for his work. He addressed to President Lukashenka and asked him to sort out the situation but drew no reply.
Aliaksandr Varlamau, Head of Sasha Varlamov’s Fashion Agency, is a former art director of fashion centre “Universum Models” and ex-Deputy Head of the organisation committee of republican fashion and photo festival “Fashion Mill”.