Russia’s wealthiest official, local Sakhalin politician Dmitry Pashov, arrested over links to ‘Crab King’ murder & smuggling cases

Dmitry Pashov, named by Forbes as Russia’s richest official, has been arrested over the case involving Oleg Khan, the man dubbed by the media as the ‘Crab King’ who is accused of smuggling shellfish and killing an entrepreneur.

In September 2020, Pashov topped Forbes’ ranking of the highest-earning civil servants and deputies, with a supposed yearly income of 6.2 billion rubles ($83 million). The businessman is the owner of Moneron, a large crabbing company, and became a member of the Sakhalin Regional Duma in 2017.

Pashov was arrested on January 27 at his island home in Russia’s Far East, near Japan. He is apparently suspected of being linked to the crimes of Khan, whom the investigators believe is the real owner of Moneron. On Monday, a Khabarovsk court ruled that Pashov should be kept in custody for two months.

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Khan is wanted by Russian law enforcement agencies on suspicion of smuggling, underestimating the value of crabs for export, and being behind the murder of fisherman Valery Pkhidenko in 2010. He fled Russia in 2018 and is now on the international wanted list.

According to local news agency, Pashov was initially interrogated in connection to a video in which he was filmed pulling endangered fish out of a river, and subsequently held in relation to the Khan case.

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Last year, when media personality Ksenia Sobchak tried to purchase a stake in the company, it was refused, as its assets had been seized. Sobchak appealed on the grounds that Pashov was not thought to be a suspect in the Khan case, with Senator Lyudmila Narusova, Sobchak’s mother, noting that there was no proof Khan still owned the company. At the same time, Sobchak was denied the chance to purchase a stake in another crab-fishing business, the Kurilsk Universal Complex, which had also previously been held by Khan.

Last year, Khan himself wrote to the head of Russia’s Investigative Committee, Alexander Bastrykin, denying the accusations and noting the apparent impossibility of the crimes of which he is accused.

“All the … charges against me, arrests in absentia and wanted notices are nothing but a diversion,” he said.

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