Thin line between honest business and criminal syndicate: companies stand up for brothers Magomedov
The RUIE fears the allegations may establish an alarming precedent for Russian businesses.
Alexander Shokhin, the head of the Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs (RUIE) turned to the Prosecutor General's Office and the Ministry of Internal Affairs asking to downgrade the sentences of Ziyavudin Magomedov, the owner of Summa Group, and his brother Magomed, and to review the legality and validity of the charges in the first place. As Kommersant found out, Shokhin sent his request as long ago as on May 7, noting that sentencing the entrepreneurs under Art. 210 of the Criminal Code (Creation of a Criminal Community) might establish an alarming precedent for Russian businesses since it views any commercial organization as a criminal community, which becomes an additional pressure on its leaders besides accusations of economic crimes. He added that Summa Group could hardly have been created for crime committing.
According to Shokhin, the persecution only makes businesses distrust the state and causes uncertainty with investors, which could affect economic development given the sanctions on Russian companies.
Rustam Kurmaev, the managing partner of Rustam Kurmaev & Partners, told the publication that the legal definition of a criminal community and that of a legal entity are actually pretty similar: both are created for profit. The lawyer reasons that there is a thin line between a business and a criminal community.
Kurmaev suggested that the application of Art. 210 in the Magomedov case might be used to solve procedural tasks. Creation of a criminal community is a much graver crime than fraud, which does not imply a home arrest, and the investigation could last for 18 months instead of 12. Charges under Art. 210 often get canceled.The brothers Magomedov were detained along with Artur Maksidov, the ex-head of Intex on March 30 this year on suspicion of a particularly large embezzlement and fraud, as well as gang creation. The defense offered a bail of 2.5 billion rubles (i.e., the damage amount), but both businessmen were detained for two months, until 30 May. Last week, the brothers Magomedov were charged on all three counts, while Magomed was also charged with illegal arms trafficking.