MOSCOW, May 22 (RAPSI) – The First Appeals Court of General Jurisdiction on Friday overturned an order of the Moscow City Court extending detention of ex-senator Rauf Arashukov and his father Raul Arashukov until July 24, attorney Vladimir Postanyuk told RAPSI.

According to the lawyer, the court agreed with the defense arguments. When choosing a restrictive measure Raul Arashukov was charged with organizing a criminal gang with an aim to embezzle gas worth 32 billion rubles (about $450 million). However, this sum was not included in final charges. There are new counts, but firstly the 32-billion-ruble embezzlement case must be dropped and then a hearing on a restrictive meaure as part of a new case must be held, Postanyuk said.

The court also reversed extension of detention of other defendant in the gas embezzlement case, deputy CEOs of Gazprom Gazoraspredelenie Stavropol Nikolay Romanov and Zamir Borsov and metrolog of the company’s office in Yessentuki Igor Kaishev.

Rauf Arashukov was arrested and detained in late January 2019. 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.

In April 2019, 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. 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.

His father Raul Arashukov was 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.