Lukashenka’s personal accountant targeted by the EU

EU’s Foreign Affairs Ministers decided to impose sanctions against three Belarusian companies tied to president Lukashenka, informed Reuters. EU Observer website reported that according to sources in Brussels, sanctions are targeting companies owned by Uladzimir Pieftsiev, businessman also described as a “personal accountant of Lukashenka”. Among others, he owns Beltechexport – weapon factory, BT Telekamunikatsia – a telecommunication services company and gambling business – Sport-Pari. In 2010, American magazine Forbes, named him second richest man in Belarus, after Lukashenka. According to estimates, his investments are worth about one billion dollars.

According to the EU Observer website, companies owned by Pieftsev are mostly used for money laundering, which then are directed to personal fund of the Belarusian president, constituting de facto second state budget. The sanctions are meant to be a punishment for human rights violations in Belarus, on the assumption that the regular Belarusians will not be affected by them.

According to an independent political scientist, Uladzimir Matskievich, sanctions will be a very painful step for the regime. He stressed that Pieftsu despite not holding any official post in the presidential administration, is an important element in the corruption system in Belarus. Matskievich also added that the EU should restrain from too many economic intervention, because Lukashenka can use it in his propaganda and blame the crisis on the EU.

FA Ministers are also planning on publishing a communiqué, in which they will call on Minsk to release Andrzej Poczobut, Gazeta Wyborcza journalist. They want to make it clear that unless Belarus changes its approach to the human rights issue, Europe will not support her with any credits. Ministers also warned about possibility of imposing even more sanctions against Belarusian companies. They also announced that some of the Belarusian businessmen will be added to the list of people banned from entering European Union.

Within next few hours a press conference is to be held, concluding the EU’s council meeting, during which a list of the companies subjected to sanctions will be revealed.


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