Jewelry, Demi Moore, Finnish clothes: Case of ‘luxurious’ gang from St.Peterburg seeking jurisdiction
Jurisdiction changed for contraband.
The Vsevolozhsky District Court of the Leningrad region has extended the term of detention and house arrest to the defendants in a high-profile criminal case of an organized crime group, the members of which, according to the investigation, had been smuggling clothes and electronics. The law enforcement officers have estimated the damage caused by their actions at nearly 650 million rubles ($11.1 million). At the same time, as the lawyer of alleged OCG leader and businessman Dmitry Zarubin, Evgeny Tonkov said, in late October, the criminal case deferred to jurisdiction of the Kuybyshevsky District Court of St. Petersburg.
The Prosecutor General’s Office has referred the criminal case of co-owner of jewelry boutique Dmitry Zarubin, who had come into the spotlight a few years ago due to the presence of actress Demi Moore at the boutique opening ceremony, to the Vsevolozhsky District Court of the Leningrad region, where, according to the information on the court’s website, it was submitted on October 20.
The investigation charges 18 residents of St. Petersburg and the Leningrad region with Organization or Participation in a Crime Community (Art. 210 of the Russian Criminal Code) and Evasion of Customs Payments Collected from Organizations or Natural Person (Art. 194). According to the case materials, the crimes were committed in the period from 2014 to 2015. Clothing and electronics were imported from Finland to the two LLCs (Perspektiva and Kontinent), and then were replaced with cheap building materials in warehouses in the Leningrad region. After that, declaration of new products was performed. Under the investigation’s estimate, the damage from the actions of the alleged smugglers amounted to over 648 million rubles ($11 million).
When preparing this criminal case for consideration, the Vsevolozhsky Court concluded that it is subject to the Kuybyshevsky District Court of St. Petersburg’s jurisdiction, as the most serious crime – creation of crime community – had been committed on the territory of St. Petersburg (although the Prosecutor General's Office thinks otherwise); all defendants who are currently under house arrest live in St. Petersburg, most of the witnesses are also from St. Petersburg, etc. After that, the criminal case was referred to the Kuibyshev District Court.
Nevertheless, on November 13, when the case had already been referred, the Vsevolozhsky Court prolonged the detention of seven prisoners, including of alleged organizer of the crime community Dmitry Zarubin; November 22, it extended the house arrest of six accused (the rest are under a written undertaking not to leave). According to the court, the grounds, on which the measure had been previously elected, still remain.
Lawyer Evgeny Tonkov, who represents the interests of Dmitry Zarubin, believes that the actions of the Vsevolozhsky Court were not based on the law, and appealed both decisions in the Leningrad Region Court. In his appeals, the defender asks to cancel the client’s detention and appoint him house arrest, as well as return the criminal case to the Vsevolozhsky District Court for consideration on merits.
According to Tonkov, after deciding that this case was not under its jurisdiction, the Vsevolozhsky District Court no longer had the authority to extend the preventive measure, which violated Dmitry Zarubin's constitutional right to defend. Moreover, the court has ignored the violation of certain provisions of the criminal procedural law committed by the investigation. As follows from the defender’s complaint, his client was notified of the completion of the preliminary investigation not within 30 days, as required by law, but within 18 days. And since the procedural period was not observed, according to the requirements of the law, the businessman should have been immediately released from custody. In addition, Evgeny Tonkov notes that Vsevolozhsky Court did not indicate which circumstances had prevented the change of the preventive measure to house arrest requested by the defense.
Evgeny Tonkov believes that the criminal case should be considered by the Vsevolozhsky District Court – most of the crimes imputed to the defendants had not been committed in the territory subject to the Kuybyshevsky Court’s jurisdiction; the legal entities appearing in the case, including Perspektiva LLC and Kontinent LLC, are not registered in this territory; of the six defendants under house arrest, only two live in St. Petersburg, and only 141 of 348 witnesses.
It should be added that the Kuybyshevsky District Court, to which the criminal case of the alleged smugglers had been referred, has also refused to consider it; according to Tonkov, there were no receipts about receiving the copies of rulings of the Vsevolozhsky District Court in the Leningrad region by the defendants under arrest in the case materials.
Mass protest rallies have been taking place in Moscow on a regular basis since the beginning of this summer. People are protesting for lots of different reasons. However, the reaction of the law enforcement authorities is always the same: repression. What is the reason behind the brutality shown during the dispersion of mass rallies? A conscious intimidation policy or incompetence of law enforcement functionaries escalating the violence and unable to imagine the potential consequences of this?