Russian businessman seeking status of political refugee in London complains on lawlessness of law enforcers to Putin

 Russian businessman seeking status of political refugee in London complains on lawlessness of law enforcers to Putin
Alexey Shmatko

The Office of the Ombudsman under the President of the Russian Federation for the Protection of the Rights of Entrepreneurs accepted the complaint of Penza's businessman Alexey Shmatko, who is currently seeking the status of political refugee in London.

Mr. Shmatko published his appeal to Russian President Vladimir Putin and business Ombudsman Boris Titov in his blog on August 7. In it, he writes that in 2011 he was forced to flee Russia and ask for political asylum in the UK due to the fact that he "was deprived of business, illegally thrown into jail, tortured".

According to Alexey Shmatko, since 2008 he became the target of persecution of high-ranking Penza siloviki, who allegedly demanded from him to hand over his share in business to them. With their illegal actions, he links his two convictions: in 2009, the businessman was sentenced to three years probation for the use of violence against a traffic police officer, and in 2010 to two and a half years probation for a fraudulent scheme to recover VAT from the budget.

In Russia, Aleksei Shmatko is still charged upon one more criminal case on illegal reimbursement of value-added tax. According to the investigation, he is the founder of the organized crime group, which in 2005-2008 stole about 50 million rubles ($834.400) from the budget through criminal schemes. In this case, in 2013, ex-chief of the tax inspection of the Leninsky district of Penza Oleg Pantyukhin and five other people were convicted.

In September 2011, under recognizance not to leave, Mr. Shmatko left Russia with his family. The next three years he spent in Cyprus, and in December 2014 flew to the UK, where he asked for political asylum. He categorically denies accusations of a crime and claims that he disclosed a criminal scheme in 2010, but as a result, because of the actions of the siloviki, he himself became the object of persecution.

"I understand that the chances of getting protection from you are negligible and I would rather get protection from the British authorities than from you and I will raise the economy of the UK, not Russia. I understand that this statement is unlikely to change the situation with the persecution of Russian businessmen, but hope dies last," Shmatko said in a statement addressed to the Russian President and the business Ombudsman.

Currently in London, the process continues to provide Alexey Shmatko the status of political refugee. The meeting of the Magistrates' Court of London on this case will be held on October 23.

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