“Delovoy Peterburg” published comments made by managing partner Konstantin Krutilnikov concerning ineffective criminal defense against corporate raids

22 July 2011

The St.-Petersburg lawyers are alarmed by the fact that amendments to legislation on corporate raids made by the President in 2011 are still inoperative. Investigative agencies just avoid initiating proceedings (under these amendments).

A year before, on July, 1, 2010, amendments to the Criminal Code made by the president Dmitry Medvedev, aimed to do away with corporate raids became effective. Adoption of these amendments was the last step in the context of the so-called anti-raid pool of laws. The two following articles were added to the Criminal Code of Russian Federation: Article 170.1 (entering deliberately false information in the USRLE) and Article 185.5 (falsification of results of shareholders’ meetings). These articles providing detention up to 7 years should become an effective instrument aimed to suppress corporate raids at an early stage, i. e. before a corporate raid actually started. Still, no one of St.-Petersburg lawyers interviewed by “DP” managed to initiate proceedings under these articles over this year.

A nonfiction story

“Once we faced a symptomatic case,” said Igor Yeliseyev, the director of OOO “RosRazvitie – SPb”. “We proved in arbitration court that our client owned 50.1 % of an OOO ownership. However, later on their opponent which holds 49.9 % ownership of the company, started to submit declaration to Tax Inspectorate no. 15 specifying changes in information on the director of the company made in USRLE. We have here elements of a crime under Article 185.5, no need to prove anything: everything was found by arbitration. But the Investigation Committee refused to commence a suit”. The lawyer believes that the real cause of such refusal lies in absence of experience of investigations under these articles of the Criminal code: nobody knows how to investigate crimes (under these articles). “We have settled this conflict later, without resorting to criminal investigation,” said Igor Yeliseyev. “However, I’m scandalized by legal situation as such. I am probably going to complain to Medvedev via Twitter”. The Investigation Committee made no comments on the matter yet.

Unwilling to think

Aleksey Muravsky, a partner of “Tuchkov Most ”, believes that this is not only a problem of the Investigation Committee, but also of judges unwilling to pass sentences under to these new articles. “Nobody is willing to think independently,” summarized the lawyer.

Konstantin Krutilnikov, the managing partner of “S&K Vertikal”, said that everything is OK with articles, “All the corporate raids are investigated with such elements of crime. The truth is that investigators just are not skilled enough to successfully investigate such cases. They prefer to suit a “fraud”, as it is easier for them. However, they usually get zero result.”

At the same time, another point of view exists in the legal community: such articles are of no use at all as such offences are, in their essence, a part of swindle. “There was a trend to try and resolve the problem of corporate raids,” said Konstantin Dobrynin, the managing partner of Pen&Paper. “What's done can't be undone. However, there are tons of laws in this country. The question at issue is no one is willing to obey them”.

Pavel Goroshkov

“Delovoy Peterburg” no. 119 (3394) of July 20, 2011.  

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