Influential businessman Baskin arrested by KGB

Prominent businessman Yawhen Baskin and several top managers with his company SZAT Servolux were arrested by the Committee for State Security (KGB) on March 14, a human rights defender said with reference to their relatives.

Minsk, 15 March. Prominent businessman Yawhen Baskin and several top managers with his company SZAT Servolux were arrested by the Committee for State Security (KGB) on March 14, a human rights defender said with reference to their relatives.

When reached by BelaPAN on Tuesday, the interior ministry and the KGB declined to either confirm or deny the report. A deputy director of Mahilyow-based Servolux said that he had no information about the arrests and insisted that the company was operating as usual.

Barys Bukhel, a rights activist in Mahilyow, said that he had been contacted by the family of one of the arrested executives.

"They asked me for help with finding a lawyer," he said. "They said that Baskin and three to four more people were arrested yesterday. All of them were taken to Minsk. It was the KGB that made the arrests."

According to the activist, Mr. Baskin was allowed by the KGB officers to make a phone call to his family after his arrest.

Mr. Baskin is ranked sixth in a media outlet's latest list of top 200 most successful and influential businesspeople in Belarus.

Servolux runs poultry, meat-packing, dairy and animal feed plants and a retail chain, as well as is a key importer of animal feeds and agricultural equipment.

Mr. Baskin's arrest came days after KGB officers arrested business tycoon Yury Chyzh on suspicion of tax evasion.