MOSCOW (Sputnik) - Former contender for Belarusian presidency Valery Tsepkalo who fled the country in July rejected on Saturday bribery accusation and said that the case against him was politically motivated and not supported by evidence.
The ex-diplomat and entrepreneur told Sputnik earlier in the day that Belarus had launched a criminal probe accusing the politician of taking a bribe in 2012, and issued a wanted persons notice for him.
"This [bribery accusation] is complete nonsense. It is simply politically motivated. I completely deny this. There was no bribe. This is complete nonsense and there is no evidence," Tsepkalo said.
According to the politician, three months ago, when President Alexander Lukashenko started accusing him of taking a bribe, he proposed the leader to publish all information related to the matter so that all people knew about it.
"And no one has published anything yet. There are no facts. There are only claims from a certain person who was paid to issue them. For three years now, I have not been occupying a [public office] position. Where were you before [with your accusations]? And as soon as I ran for the presidency, everything immediately was brought to limelight," Tsepkalo added.
In 2014-2015, Tsepkalo — the former administration head of the Belarus Hi-Tech Park — and a Turkish businessman residing in Belarus, Sedat Igdeci, were involved in a trial over a dispute over the quality of the politician's private house build by the businessman's company, which resulted in a settlement agreement. Later, the businessman said that he had information about law violations and bribes during the construction of facilities for the Hi-Tech Park. The politician and his team have repeatedly denied Igdeci's claims.
In July 2020, Tsepkalo slammed as insinuations the businessman's accusations against him. Tsepkalo added that he was a victim and appealed to the prosecutor's office. The businessman, in turn, filed a lawsuit against Tsepkalo. As a result, the Belarusian Central Election Commission did not register the politician as a presidential candidate over information discrediting his honor and business reputation.