Businessmen on trial address President with complain on investigators deceiving them

Businessmen on trial address President with complain on investigators deceiving them
Boris Titov (second from the right) during his visit to detention center) Photo: Kommersant

Entrepreneurs, who became involved in criminal cases, find fault with the investigators using imprisonment to put pressure on them.

Entrepreneurs from Moscow's detention center-5 signed an appeal to Russian President Vladimir Putin. The day before business ombudsman Boris Titov paid a visit to them, Kommersant reports. In their appeal, they talked through imperfection of the legislation and law enforcement by law enforcement agencies. The main claim lies in placement in custody being used as a means of pressure on an entrepreneur with a view to recognizing guilt. The latter is also achieved through deception, when investigators promise not to place in a remand prison if they confess, but later they backtrack.

The example of one of the businessmen that has been in the detention center for more than 1.5 years is indicative in this respect, provided that during the first nine months an investigator simply did not come to him. Titov also told about another pressure tool, when an investigator threatens to arrest, for instance, a businessman's driver and add Art. 210 of the Criminal Code (Creation of a Criminal Community) to the indictment. According to the business ombudsman, a bribe or signing of other confessions will not solve all the problems.

The appeal, according to Titov, features specific proposals to alter the situation. He also remarked that the placing a person in the remand prison is generally illegal in some cases, as previously amendments have been introduced to Art. 108 of the Code of Criminal Procedure of the Russian Federation, according to which custodial detention cannot be applied as a preventive measure to those accused of economic crimes.

2010 witnessed then President Dmitry Medvedev enacting the law that mitigates penalties for those accused of economic crimes. Henceforth, courts were to release them on bail, and apply arrest only in exceptional cases.

Furthermore, in 2014 the Constitutional Court recognized Art. 159.4 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation (Swindling in the Sphere of Entrepreneurial Activity) partially unconstitutional. Nevertheless, as the defender of entrepreneurs noted, the total number of businessmen sent to the detention facility shows no sign of abating.

The incumbent President has commented on this as well, stating in early August of this year that if there are no active investigative actions against entrepreneurs under arrest, they are to be released from incarceration. Putin instructed the Prosecutor General's Office to examine in detail together with the Supreme Court and, if necessary, amend the legislation.

Among the signatories of the current appeal are former Chairman of the Board of iMoneyBank Igor Volchikhin, arrested in early November this year, whom the investigator has not yet visited, and before the trial on choosing a preventive measure he was offered house arrest if he gave confession. Another representative of business clarified that the damage he is charged with is just 400 rubles ($6.82), but he was still kept in the detention center. Titov says the list of signatories is going to become larger.

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