Sep 8, 2020 - World

San Francisco startup employees arrested in Belarus crackdown

Belarus protests.
Opposition supporters rally to protest against disputed presidential elections results in Minsk on August 23, 2020. Photo: SERGEI GAPON/AFP via Getty Images

Four Belarus-based employees of San Francisco-based PandaDoc were arrested in recent days, according to the company, after CEO Mikita Mikado spoke out about a government crackdown and disputed election there.

The big picture: The move comes amid weeks of protest in Belarus following an Aug. 9 election that opposition leaders say was rigged. Mikado, who is from Belarus, founded his company there before moving its headquarters to the U.S. in 2014.

Driving the news: In a post to a new SavePandaDoc website, the company said its Minsk office was raided Sept. 2. Per the post, four PandaDoc employees, including the director of the office, were arrested, ostensibly for embezzlement. PandaDoc says those charges are "completely untrue."

  • "This action is purely an act of repression against the founders of PandaDoc who have been supporting some of the victims of the Belarussian government in the weeks since the stolen presidential election," the company said in a statement.

What's next: The company, which develops sales-process software, is encouraging people to post videos and take to social media with the hashtag #SavePandaDoc. "We are hoping that maximum publicity will show solidarity and pressure to have our colleagues released," the company said.

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