Billionaire Yuri Shefler denied amnesty by Constitutional Court

Billionaire Yuri Shefler denied amnesty by Constitutional Court
Yuri Shefler

Businessman’s lawyers are going to seek a review of his case on the use of someone else's trademark in the Supreme Court.

The Constitutional Court has refused to consider the second appeal filed by businessman Yuri Shefler in response to the failure of the ICR and courts to complete his criminal proceedings.

As reported by Kommersant, the court has banned investigation to arbitrarily impose indemnity obligations on defendants in the case, the amount of which must be “set and included in the official charge.”

The prominent businessman and billionaire Yuri Shefler is charged with unlawful use of trademarks, the copyright of which is owned by the state. According to investigation, the businessman’s actions have caused damage to Soyuzplodoimport Federal State Enterprise. The initial damage amounted to 1.33 million rubles. But then the victims filed a lawsuit for 192 million rubles. Thus, the amount of damage increased by 145 times. 

The defense of the former S.P.I. head refers to the ruling of the State Duma of July 2, 2013 on economic amnesty. According to the document, criminal cases under a number of articles are closed, if the suspects have fulfilled the obligation to pay damages to the victims. 

In 2013 an investigator refused to apply the amnesty to Shefler. In January 2016 the Constitutional Court found wrong the denial of amnesty due to the victim’s objection to the amount of damage, stressing that the investigator must clearly set and include the amount of damage into the official charges. As a result, Shefler recovered all the monetary claims, after which the Moscow City Court deemed the investigation’s refusal to apply the amnesty illegal.

This did not prevent the ICR investigator from refusing to stop the criminal prosecution against the businessman for the fourth time in September 2016, referring to the fact that Shefler had not returned the rights to overseas trademarks to the victim. Courts supported the investigation’s decision.

As the businessman’s lawyer Dmitry Kravchenko noted, the claim mentioned the presumption of innocence was being violated: “The investigation accuses Yuri Scheffler of illegal use of someone else's trademark in Russia and demands to return those from abroad, without specifying what exactly it is about.”

The Constitutional Court has refused to handle the complaint, pointing out that the inspector’s authorization to stop the criminal prosecution under an amnesty “under the condition of performance obligation to return the property and damages to victims by suspects and defendants” predetermines his “responsibility to check the compliance with this condition.” In considering the possibility of amnesty, the investigation must account for the amount of damage, “set and included in the official charges, which, having an evidentiary basis for a particular act, makes amnesty arising from indemnification legally justified.” According to lawyer Kravchenko, the Constitutional Court’s decision allows to apply to the Supreme Court with an application for review of the denial of amnesty.

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