Smuggling at the national level: Oil concern chief allegedly arrested

Igorr Zhilin, Head of the Belarusian State Group Company for Oil and Chemistry (Belnaftakhim), was arrested on July, 1 and placed in the pretrial detention centre, news media Charter97 reports with a reference to its own source. By the decree No 631 dated by June 30, 2014 Mr Zhilin was released from his position.

The information has not been confirmed or denied officially yet. But there is a dash in the “Management personnel” section on the company’s official website.

Igor Zhilin, a citizen of Russia, was appointed to the position of the head of the concern on February 4, 2011. Earlier he headed JSC Hrodna Azot. It is rumoured that he took the position thanks to push given by the late oligarch Boris Berezovsky.

Mr Zhilin is believed to be an author of the scheme of Russian oil products smuggling: Belarus bought subsidised Russian crude and then re-exported it to the EU labelled as solvents and thinners to avoid paying Russian re-export fees. Moreover, the former head of Belnaftakhim reportedly had its hand in a scandal with breach of relations between Belaruskali and Uralkali companies, which resulted in the arrest and imprisonment of Uralkali CEO Vladislav Baumgertner in Belarus.

In May, 2014 Zhilin’s former assistant Uladzimir Volkau was sentenced to 8 years in a medium-security penal colony., via

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