MOSCOW, April 6 (RAPSI) – Defense lawyers have filed a motion seeking to release Raul Arashukov, CEO of Gazprom Mezhregiongaz and father of ex-senator Rauf Arashukov, charged with the 30-billion-ruble natural gas embezzlement ($455 million), from detention, attorney Vladimir Postanyuk has told RAPSI.

The motion has been sent by mail and e-mail to invesigators due to the coronavirus spread and red-tapery, according to the lawyer.

In late January, the Moscow City Court extended detention of ex-Federation Council member Rauf Arashukov and his father Raul until April 24.

Detention of the first deputy CEO of Gazprom Gazoraspredelenie Stavropol Nikolay Romanov was also extended for the same period.

In May, the Federation Council terminated senator’s powers of Rauf Arashukov charged with murder and participating in a gang. According to the Federation Council’s Deputy Chair Yury Vorobyev, an upper house’s commission revealed that Arashukov had not submitted his and his relatives’ tax declarations in time.

In April, Moscow’s Basmanny District Court ordered the seizure of assets belonging to Arashukov. The seizure has been applied to monetary funds, land plots, cars and residential houses.

Rauf Arashukov was arrested and detained in late January. The upper house of parliament stripped him of immunity and gave consent to his prosecution upon an application by the Prosecutor General. He stands charged with murder, participation in a gang and witness tampering.

According to investigators, ex-Federation Council member was involved in the murder of a Karachay-Cherkessia public youth movement’s deputy chairman Aslan Zhukov and the republican president’s advisor Fral Shebzukhov in 2010. Moreover, investigators believe that the former senator is implicated to natural gas embezzlement from Gazprom company.

He has pleaded not guilty.

His father Raul Arashukov is accused in a 30-billion-ruble natural gas embezzlement case ($455 million). He was detained by court in February. Moreover, a court placed branch manager of Gazprom Mezhregiongaz Stavropol Guzer Khashukoyev, CEO of Gazprom Gazoraspredelenie Astrakhan and Gazprom Mezhregiongaz Astrakhan Ruslan Arashukov, first deputy CEO of Gazprom Gazoraspredelenie Stavropol Nikolay Romanov and CEO of Gazprom Mezhregiongaz Stavropol Igor Travinov in jail for the same term.

According to investigation, all of them are involved in gas embezzlement from Gazprom company. The top managers have been allegedly stealing gas from the state-run energy giant over a period of several years.

Raul Arashukov pleads not guilty and calls the case against him fabricated.