Prosecutor General's Office insists on postponement of trial upon case of St. Petersburg's House with Lions

Prosecutor General's Office insists on postponement of trial upon case of St. Petersburg's House with Lions
House of Lobanov-Rostovsky (House with Lions)

Deputy Prosecutor Viktor Grin doubts the impartiality of the St. Petersburg judiciary.

The Prosecutor General's Office filed an appeal against the decision of the first instance of the Supreme Court to refuse to transfer the case of Intarsia to the Сity Сourt of Petrozavodsk about embezzlement of funds for the reconstruction of the House with Lions. As reported by Kommersant, the Appeals Board of the Supreme Court will consider the submission of the Prosecutor General's Office on August 22. The supervisor believes that the extensive ties of Viktor Smirnov, the ex-owner of Intarsia, do not give rise to any doubts about the impartiality of the St. Petersburg judiciary. In the petition of the Deputy Prosecutor General Viktor Grin to change the jurisdiction of the resonant criminal case, emphasis is placed on the fact that "statutory guarantees of impartial and objective consideration" do not exist.

In particular, it is indicated that Intarsia regularly executes state contracts of Smolny. Including the company of Smirnov executed a contract for the construction of a new building of the Vyborg District Court, where the case against him is being considered. The Prosecutor's Office insists that the accused communicated with both the current chairman of the court and the head of the St. Petersburg department of the judicial department, who acts as the customer of such contracts. In addition, the supervisory authority presented a list of officials and judges to whom Smirnov, on behalf of Intarsia, presented gifts.

Also, the Prosecutor General's Office draws the attention of the Supreme Council to the fact that the criminal case against Viktor Smirnov was terminated five times by the Main Department of Internal Affairs of the Ministry of Internal Affairs in St. Petersburg and Leningrad region. To bring the ex-owner of Intarsia to criminal liability and to investigate the case it was possible only after its transfer in May 2015 to the production of the Main Investigative Department of the ICR in St. Petersburg.

The request of the Prosecutor General's Office was supported by the customer of the reconstruction - Tristar Investments Holdings CJSC, the chairman of the board of directors and co-founder of which is son of the ex-head of the Russian Railways Andrey Yakunin. But the defense of Smirnov objects to the transfer of the case to Karelia, without revealing the arguments before the consideration of the Prosecutor General's Office.

Recall that former head of Intarsia Viktor Smirnov and his deputy Dmitry Sokolov were charged with embezzlement and attempted fraud in the amount of more than 700 million rubles ($41.8m). These funds, according to the investigation, were stolen during the reconstruction of the historic mansion House with Lions. After the criminal prosecution began, the businessman fled to London and was wanted by Interpol line. Note that in 2012, Tristar terminated the contract with Intarsia to the amount of 2.1 billion rubles ($125.5m), accusing the contractor of violating the terms and quality of work, after which the parties presented each other financial claims. And since then, both companies have been mired in arbitration courts. By 2016, Intarsia became bankrupt, and Smirnov's defense insists on the innocence of the ex-leader and states that the matter concerns only civil law relations that were artificially transferred to the criminal plane.

The historical mansion near the Isaakievsky Cathedral in St. Petersburg is on the balance of the Presidential Affairs Office and on lease from the company Tristar. The mansion was conceived by the prince's couple as a lucrative home, where apartments and other premises were rented out. Now there is a hotel Four Seasons Hotels&Resorts. And the reconstruction of the Lobanov-Rostovsky mansion became the largest project of a hotel network for more than 50 years of the company's existence.



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