The Russian judiciary is demanding 23 years in prison for Sergei Furgal, the former governor of Khabarovsk. He is accused of organizing two murders in the 2000s. The defendant pleads not guilty.
In the early 2000s, when Sergei Furgal was still an entrepreneur, the indictment alleges that he orchestrated the assassination of two rival businessmen. Entrepreneur Yevgeny Zorya was killed in October 2004, just before a court was to decide which of the two would be given control of a factory they had fought over. Another victim was Furgal’s associate, who was killed in an assassination attempt in early 2005. A third man barely survived an assassination attempt.
In 2018, as a member of the LDPR party led by the late right-wing populist Vladimir Zhirinovsky, Furgal won the gubernatorial elections in Khabarovsk against a representative of the Kremlin party United Russia. In 2020 he was arrested as acting governor and transferred to Moscow. Zhirinovsky said at the time that Furgal was not a criminal. “If there were indeed some crimes and murders in 2004 and 2005 and Sergei Furgal was allegedly involved in them, what have you been waiting for 15 years?”
After his arrest, several protest actions took place in Khabarovsk. The participants demanded that the case be examined in Khabarovsk and not in Moscow and also called for the resignation of the current regional authorities.
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In October 2021, all investigations were declared closed. The investigators called the motive for his actions “the promotion of the commercial interests of Furgal and his accomplices”. On February 2, six jurors in a district court near Moscow found Furgal and three other defendants guilty of organizing the killings. On Wednesday, the public prosecutor’s office requested 23 years in prison for Furgal, and for the three other accused ten and a half, 17 and 22 years in prison.
The 52-year-old denies any allegations, saying there is no evidence against him and the criminal case is based solely on the testimony of one person. Reasons for his prosecution are political motives, said Furgal. He also complained about threats and pressure from the investigators.
The verdict is expected to be announced on February 10.
more on the subject – Russia: Again demonstrations in Khabarovsk in support of ex-governor Furgal