Russia Moves to Protect Businessmen Suspected of Economic Crimes

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Jun. 22 – The Russian State Duma plans to remove imperfections from legislation preventing President Dmitry Medvedev from mitigating punishment for businessmen.

“Necessary amendments to the Russian Criminal Code and the Criminal Procedure Code will be introduced to the State Duma next week,” said deputy Andrey Nazarov, one of the authors of amendments.

Expert’s estimate that amendments will be accepted without the need for any serious discussions in the Parliament as the president has already mentioned the significance of correcting the criminal code and the criminal procedure code in Russia.

According to Article 108 of the current criminal code, the person suspected of crime in the sphere of economic activity, including embezzlement, evasion from payment of taxes, or money laundering, cannot be taken into custody if they do not abscond from investigation. As the bill states, this article can be applied when cases are opened against shareholders, founders of enterprises, an individual businessman, a member of a board of directors, and also against “the person who is either permanently or temporarily managing an enterprise.”

The second amendment will change Article 169 of the Russian Criminal Code “Obstruction of Lawful Business Activity.”

According to this amendment, officials who have wrongfully refused to register an enterprise, illegally limited an enterprise’s freedom, or interfered in its economic activity may have a fine imposed amounting to 3 million rubles for small damage to 12 million rubles for larger ones.

According to the State Supreme Court’s statistical data, 1,086 businessmen have been condemned in Russia in 2009 for economic crimes.

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