On September 20, Delovoy Peterburg held the practical conference on white collar crime, the first one in the North-West region of Russia.
Vladimir Aleshin, S&K Vertical's Senior Criminal Law Counsel spoke at the first session called “The White Collar Crime in Business Conflicts” covering the defense opportunities within pre-investigation checks and preliminary investigations. The session also featured Valery Zinchenko, Managing Partner of Pen & Paper, Marina Gorlacheva, partner at CLC, Andrey Komissarov, Managing Partner at Komissarov & Partners and Yesenia Maltseva, Head of the Department for Supervision over the Investigations carried out by the Police Offerers at the Prosecutor's Office of St. Petersburg.
I am doing exactly the same as what I have been doing for 40 years. First as an investigator, then as an attorney. And for these 40 years, I must regretfully conclude that the quality of the investigative work becomes only worse year after year. It worries me as an attorney. I will give an example: in Siberia, I ran into an investigator who not only did not follow the Code of Criminal Procedure, but also in general acted oddly from the procedural point of view. When we were talking I asked him: what kind of education do you have? He says: I graduated from the Veterinary College. By the will of fate he became an investigator. It was about ten years ago, now he is the head of the investigative body. Unfortunately, an attorney has limited opportunities to protect a business. But still there are some. I will not consider the framed criminal cases: it is clear how they are instituted, by agreement with the heads who give their command to subordinate investigators. With the fact that they exist I often get to face in my own practice. And then I realize that if the level is high enough, all your attempts to combat this are ineffective. But still it is necessary to fight against this.
From my practice: let us say we are at a pre-investigation check. You defend your client, help him to fight off all the illegal, as he believes, accusations or suspicions. In case you are defending the enterprise, you should, after the very first conversation with the investigator, find out what actions of your client can be used as a basis for charging him of this or that crime. Proceeding from this, it is necessary to select documents, talk with officials and find out from them as to what exactly has happened. That is, to conduct your own investigation. Naturally, in includes giving advice as to which documents must be collected and given to the investigator and what statements should be submitted to the law enforcement agencies.
Realizing that someone from the other side will necessarily confront me, I recently began to practice the following thing: I recommend my clients to approach independent expert institutions and engage experts so that they would provide their opinion on what actually happened, before we give any statements for the law enforcement bodies. This means using the best of these experts to assess the objective side of the matter. As practice shows, such a study can be very helpful. First, it will facilitate the work of the investigator who will check your application. In those piles of explanations that you will attach to the application, it would difficult to understand anything. And the expert opinion would provide the whole picture. In the future, this opinion can be used as a basis for a motion to hold forensic expert examination, the judicial one in particular, if the investigators refuse to grant it.
Amongst other tools for an attoreny I would stress filing complaints with the prosecutor's office. I like the way our prosecutors work now: apparently, something is going on, so that the prosecutor's office is becoming more efficient. And correctly written complaints are being ignored less and less.
By Pavel Goroshkov