Yavheniya Shastserikava, head of the Mahilyov regional branch of Belarusbank, was arrested on October 14 and indicted on criminal charges of misuse of office. The allegations center on Shastserikava’s 1993-1997 tenure as director of the Dukat commercial bank. The arrest follows President Alyaksandr Lukashenka’s October 7 attack on "tradesmen and bankers" after the assassination of his personal friend, Yavhen Mikalutsky, who was head of the State Control Committee in Mahilyov region. In that speech, the president ordered police and security agencies to crack down on "unauthorized" business, and he gave businessmen in general 10 days to pay alleged overdue taxes and to identify Mikalutsky’s assassins. On October 14, according to his chief spokesman, Lukashenka delivered a "well-deserved tongue-lashing" to law enforcement chiefs for moving too slowly in implementing those instructions. (Belapan, October 14-15; Russian agencies, October 15; see Monitor, October 8)
Meanwhile the former president of the Belarus National Bank, Tamara Vinnikava, is being held unlawfully by the KGB in pretrial detention, as she has been since January of this year. The latest official version of the charges against her — which resemble those against Shastserikava — is "abuse of office" in Vinnikava’s earlier capacity as director of a commercial bank.
…As Lukashenka Muzzles Remaining Independent Media.