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17 Dec, 2020 13:15

Putin denies political motive in contract killing case against ex-Khabarovsk governor Furgal, says he'd 'zero problem' with him

Putin denies political motive in contract killing case against ex-Khabarovsk governor Furgal, says he'd 'zero problem' with him

There’s no political motive behind the prosecution against Sergey Furgal, the former governor of Khabarovsk Region, Russia’s President Vladimir Putin has said, urging the public to let investigators to do their job in peace.

Speaking during his annual end-of-year press conference, Putin touched on one of the hottest topics in Russian domestic affairs – the Furgal case. The now-former governor was arrested in July over allegations that he used to be a member of an organized crime group and had ordered at least three murders-for-hire back in the 2000s, long before assuming his high post.

The arrest triggered mass protests in Khabarovsk, where the politician had scored some 70 percent of votes during 2018 elections and remained extremely popular since then. The arrest has also sparked allegations that the criminal case against Furgal was a political hit. Putin, however, firmly denied such claims, stating that the governor was actually “very loyal” to the federal authorities.

“I have had good relations with him, and he was, in general terms, loyal to the federal government. I had zero problems with him,” Putin stated.

Also on rt.com ‘One of the most impressive phenomena in modern Russia’: Communist leader Zyuganov asks Kremlin to listen to Khabarovsk protesters

The charges Furgal is facing are very serious, Putin noted, and the investigators must be allowed to carry on with their work to present the case before court. At the same time, the president said he understands the frustration the arrest of the highly-popular politician might have caused.

“The accusations against him are very heavy, as he’s a [suspected] member of an organized criminal group, which was involved in the assassinations of business competitors,” Putin said.

We are talking about the murder of people, not about some theft, not about fraud, not about abuse of office.

Putin also dismissed allegations that the case might be somehow related to Furgal’s affiliation with the country’s opposition Liberal Democratic Party (LDPR). The president pointed to other criminal cases against high-ranking officials, that included members of the ruling United Russia party, many of whom received real prison terms for the illicit activities they’d indulged in.

Also on rt.com Police disperse protest rally in Russia’s Far East after attempt to set up tent camp in central Khabarovsk square (VIDEOS)

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