The nuances that need to know those who lead their business in Russia
Every year in Russia recorded more than 100 000 economic crimes. In the last two years this figure has not changed, but there’s bad news: the Russians, accused of economic crimes, often fall into the jail. Ombudsman for entrepreneurs under President Boris Titov told the”Secret” that, for the same two years the number of such inmates increased by 59% and by August of 2016 has reached 6539 people.
Let the odds of being in captivity is not so high, but if such trouble to you will get home you most likely will not be back soon. According to the statistics of the Judicial Department at the Supreme court, in the first six months of 2016 first instance courts issued acquittals only in 0.4% of cases. For example, among those who were accused under articles “Fraud” (№159 of the criminal code) and “Misappropriation or embezzlement” (No. 160 of the criminal code), was acquitted of 0.5% of persons among those accused of commercial bribery (No. 204 of the criminal code), one of 585 people.
It is not surprising that some entrepreneurs, once they get inside or just to smell a rat, pack my bags (of course, if we have time) and run out of the country. Practice shows that it is safer to hide in the UK or USA, but there are other options. The “secret” I learned about them from fugitives and lawyers.
When to run
“I left the meeting in tourism, when a friend called me from the bodies, said that preparing my arrest, and advised to pull out of the country”, — says the businessman Mikhail Shamanov, who has two years hiding from Russian justice in the UK. A call from loved ones to business people is, of course, the surest way to know that they are preparing the arrest. This motive, in one form or another occurs in almost all the stories left Russia entrepreneurs. Shamanov called on 4 August 2014. He walked away from the building of the Federal Agency for tourism on Myasnitskaya street and got in the car to more here never to return. Three days later, the businessman was in London. He later received in the UK refugee status.
In the summer of 2014 the activities of travel agencies “Labyrinth” and “Ideal tour”, the owners of which the consequence calls Shamanov and his partner Sergei Azarskova have already been suspended. Later they were charged with the output of more than 1 billion of customer funds these agencies at the expense of the controlled entity. Shaman says that he and Azarskov not have time to buy “Labyrinth” as found “hole in the accounts” in the amount of 27 million euros. The money, according to him, stole the “real owners “Labyrinth” Tatiana Zotov and Svetlana Baranovskaya”. What Azarskova belonged to the “Ideal-tour”, he does not deny (and calls himself his adviser), but says the company the money no conclusion. Azarskov also fled Russia, first in Montenegro, from there to Serbia. Later, a local court granted the petition for extradition of the businessman of Russia, and in April 2016, he was in a Moscow pretrial detention center.
With friends in law enforcement luck is not all and then about whether it’s time to run, is anyone’s guess. If a person is attracted to the case as a witness, he can try to determine this by the nature of the investigator’s questions. For example, the managing partner of the bar “Zheleznikov and partners” Alexander Zheleznikov says that most fugitives choose to do so after an active investigative actions like search or after the election of a preventive measure, not connected with isolation from society. One customer zheleznikova decided to escape after his after a long interrogation, was suddenly summoned for a confrontation with another witness. “Normally, cross-examination is used, if in the testimony there are contradictions, — the lawyer explains. A businessman decided as follows: time in to my account there is not the positive data, there is a risk of changing the procedural status. Went by car to Minsk, from there to Israel. There he became a citizen and lives quietly to this day.”
To escape from any possibility of criminal prosecution is unwise, it will only untie the hands of the prosecution: it will be able in absentia to arrest a man, to declare him wanted
However, the logic of the investigation is unlikely to fully understand. “Procedural status — a phenomenon as changeable and unpredictable as the weather, — said the lawyer Vadim Klyuvgant. — The management is entirely in the hands of the accusing party, which shall decide in its sole discretion”.
Interviewed by “the Secret” advocates emphasize that to escape from any possibility of criminal prosecution is unwise, it will only untie the hands of the prosecution: it will be able in absentia to arrest a man, to declare him wanted to forget about any cooperation like impressions of material things and even to carry out the process without its participation. If a man remain, he and his lawyers will be able at least to participate in the process, be aware of what is happening.
“Why run? I know that for me the truth!” — this choice was taken in February, co-owner of Domodedovo airport Dmitry Mason, who was accused of creating the conditions for the attack, which occurred in January 2011. In September the criminal case against Mason and his staff closed. But this example is rather an exception to the rule.
“Here’s the problem: most entrepreneurs we impute a standard set: articles №159 and №174 of the criminal code, explains managing partner of the law Bureau “Koblev and partners” Ruslan Koblev. — That is kidnapped by fraud and laundered. The maximum term of imprisonment to ten years. It is clear that such a risk few people want to go.”
How many entrepreneurs and top managers prefer to flee the country, it is difficult to calculate: the Interpol website is not showing the complete database of the Russians, who are wanted, — only 160 people with names and surnames (although if the person is not listed, you can still find it via search). All, according to the chief of National Central Bureau (NCB) of Interpol Alexander Prokopchuk, the Russian segment of the base has about 3,000 people (on the Interpol website when it goes 1674 request).
Owner of the law firm Cofrance Sarl Vitaly Arkhangelsky, he left Russia six years ago, calls the stream of fugitives “consistently great”. His company has escaped from the criminal prosecution of entrepreneurs and top managers. But this is only one of the directions (the company is also engaged in real estate, insurance, in all questions of emigration and even legal support delivery in nice), and to assess in absolute terms, Arkhangelsk is not taken — it just turn people with high income. “The number of applications does not change — changing trends, he says. For example, a year and a half ago actively ran by the bankers. Apparently, the owners of factories already behind bars. Or before they all fled”.
How to run
Someone lucky. The best option to just return from abroad, if the accusation or rumors on the possible prosecution found there. But such happy coincidences are rare.
For example, the former head of “VimpelCom” Mikhail Slobodin argues that was in France on a business trip when he learned he was a defendant in a criminal case about bribery of the leadership of the Republic of Komi. First, he promised to return to answer questions of the UK, but then changed his mind. Recently, the state office of public Prosecutor began check of legality of prosecution slobodina.
Older case: ten years ago, co-owner of the Moscow Palace of youth Pavel Zabelin the news of the search of the house his parents found in Estonia. He stayed there and asked for political asylum. According to Zabelina, he was charged with fraud after he refused to “bear false witness” against Menatep co-owner Leonid Nevzlin. In Russia Zabelin in the end never returned.
Those who are not lucky time to be abroad, it is necessary to act quickly. Presenting the person of the charges and declaring him wanted, the investigator can contact the border service and ask them not to release it. To declare a person wanted, it can take from several days to a couple of months — depends on the value of the case.
The sooner you have been warned (or you know where everything goes), the more chances to get out of the country: “checkboxes” or “updated” the guards still not delivered, the charges are filed. “I just left on vacation to Bulgaria and I thought that while I’m going to be there, all the questions will decide for themselves. Finally, I realized that not going back, only a few years”, — says Vitaly Arkhangelsky.
In Russia in 2010 it was accused of fraud: according to investigators, when the time to repay the debts the Bank “Saint-Petersburg” (loan of 4 billion rubles for the group of companies Arkhangelsk OMG), he did not. According to Archangel, he actually agreed with the Bank for deferment and as security gave him the shares of several companies, part of the group “Oslo marine”. But, without waiting for the grace period, the Bank sold the shares at a lower price affiliated companies, therefore, Arkhangelsk accuses the Bank’s management in a hostile takeover of his business.
Mikhail Slobodin, according to the media, too, flew from Moscow to nice without hindrance.
If a person is under house arrest, bail or under house arrest, out also have a chance. For example, Alexander Zheleznikov says that one of his clients ran once successfully appealed the arrest and bail. Recently a former official of Federal registration service Boris Avakian ran away from-under house arrest — he wasn’t wearing an electronic bracelet, so he could easily go first in Belarus and then in Ukraine (according to “Fontanka”, he went to his wedding). Electronic bracelets at all now lacks, said Ruslan Koblev.
Common in many of these stories — the fugitives leave the country, in Belarus, Kazakhstan, Ukraine, and from there flying to other countries. However, through Ukraine in 2014 to go harder — in contrast to the border with Belarus and Kazakhstan, where there are practically no border guards on the border with Ukraine now strict control.
Minsk was chosen and Mikhail Shamanov. First, he told the driver to go to the airport, but halfway changed his mind. Decided it was better not to risk it — suddenly the police have already put out an APB and detained him at the airport for identification, and then quickly prepare an arrest warrant. For nine hours the driver drove him to National airport Minsk. Shamans took the first ticket to Europe is lucky that the plane was flying to Vienna, where he once had a business and left a lot of friends. Law enforcement agencies at this time were preparing to arrest — an arrest warrant was issued a few days later. By this time the Shamans had to move from Austria to France and then to Britain. To fly across the English channel he advised friends.
In Russia extradited ежегодно50человек
Shamanov was lucky that he had an open visa. But even if no visa, you should not despair. As said Ruslan Koblev, he had a client who had successfully absconded in the UK, not having official permission to reside in this country. First he went to Montenegro, where the Russians allowed at all without a visa. Passport control was not so strict as, for example, in Moscow, therefore, the presence of a British visa at the local airport on departure is checked. Once in Heathrow, the fugitive immediately demanded a meeting with the immigration officer and asked for political asylum.
Some manage to escape even after extradition to Russia. For example, Volgograd restaurateur Alexei Torubarov was extradited by the Czech Republic, but after two months of detention at home managed to flee to Hungary, where now asking to grant him political asylum. In a dramatic story about their adventure Torubarov, unfortunately, did not disclose the details of the escape, but mentions that the border ran through the barbed wire.
Where to run
One of the customers Cofrance Sarl (not Russian) lived in the mountains near nice for about three years. He was in the international wanted list, decided to hide from problems, but in the end its still detained in hospital where because of the illness of the fugitive was taken in a medical helicopter. Any verification documents when you check into a hotel, in an accident, in the hospital in danger of detection. Therefore, the question whether it makes sense to hide after leaving Russia, and lawyers, and themselves fugitives puzzled answer: “As it is now possible to hide?” You need not hide, and any way to be in a country where not extradited.
Russia annually produce around 50 people. In September Alexander Prokopchuk have already reported on 48 successful extradition requests. It is not more than 10% of the total number of requests for extradition — Russia delivers about 700 each year.
Officially, Russia has bilateral extradition agreements only with 65 countries, but this does not mean that the remaining 123 States do not issue the Russians. For example, over the past five years Thailand has granted 39 people, although the contract is not with him. That’s how scary the fugitives head of international legal cooperation of Prosecutor General’s office Saak Karapetyan: “increasingly, criminals trying to escape justice in the countries with which Russia has no extradition treaties. However, in recent years we have successfully resolved the transmission issues with countries such as Chile, Ghana, Cambodia, Paraguay, UAE, Brazil, Ecuador, Dominican Republic, Jamaica”.
“There are countries where people just picked up by the police, then come the officers from Russia and they will give it. Such cases have sometimes with Latin America”, — says Ruslan Koblev.
What options are the most dangerous? The interlocutors of “the Secret” called Eastern Europe, whence issued “EN masse”, and the former Soviet republics, law enforcement which the Russian Prosecutor’s office has established close links. From some neighbouring countries can return home and without any extradition requests. “Exotic” options, according to the statement of the Prosecutor General, also not too reliable.
Usually entrepreneurs and top managers choose the state with which they have some connection: the property, business, friends. “For many years I have had an apartment in France, children have to study at school, so from Bulgaria we came here,” confirms Arkhangelsk.
The choice of a country and the fate of the extradition request is affected by many factors — each case is individual. But over the years, fleeing from justice of the Russian entrepreneurs and top managers appeared favored and most secure in the country.
UK over the past 100 years gave Russia only one person, and he was accused of murder, not economic crime. Ruslan Koblev sure: it is necessary to choose the country, even if the fugitive has a house in Germany or a residence permit in Spain. The latter sometimes becomes a problem. A British court may decide that if a person has a residence permit in Spain, the issue of extradition should consider the Spanish court, and deported him to Spain.
The advantage of the UK Koblev also calls that are rarely put in jail during the consideration of an extradition request if the person has at least a rented house, the court considers that there is no reason not to trust him.
The sooner you realize that you need to leave,the more chances to get out of the country: “checkboxes” or “updated” the guards still not delivered
However, in the last few years to defend against extradition in the British courts has become more difficult. If they acknowledge the inhuman conditions in detention centers (in 2013 it was even made an appropriate judicial decision not to extradite to Russia on the basis of conditions of detention in prisons), in 2015 in the case of the former head of the company “Eurasia” Igor Kononko, the defendant in a criminal case of embezzlement of BTA Bank, accused of embezzlement, Russia has given a guarantee of conditions after extradition. And Britain accepted them, setting a precedent. Conoco Russia, however, is still not given. Now when you protect will have to carefully consider the other grounds for refusal to extradite.
Boris Berezovsky and Yuli Dubov, Yevgeny Chichvarkin — here are just a few names of those who, among other 30-40 people (in 2013 Genprokuratura that the UK refused to extradite 33 individuals over the past ten years, another 11 were under consideration) hiding in the country from the Russian justice. Russian community in London is growing, and, according to Mikhail Shamanov, find contacts need lawyers to draw up an action plan is not so difficult, even if the person got out of Russia in haste and without ties (such as among hotels in the UK, as it does who decided to escape from Russia’s entrepreneurs, small).
The UK and the USA — between these two countries is chosen by many fugitives. Mikhail Shamanov says that he chose the UK because of “convenience”: he had no relations in the US, and to communicate from there with the rest of Russia would be more difficult, both because of the time difference when calling, and long flights. But the rest of these options was equal.
Cases of extradition of businessmen from the USA to Russia single. Escaped from Russia, former owner of the company “Investment Fund of Kuban” Yury Mosha even trying to build a business on the fellow-fugitives, he launched the company Pokanepozdno that such people “provides support and assistance in social adaptation” (license to practice law, the company does not have and is cooperating with American law firms).
Often even before the extradition request of the USA declare that they will not issue a famous person, if he is in the country. So it was with Vladimir Gusinsky in 2001 and Leonid Nevzlin in 2005.
A safe area some lawyers call Austria. “Austria is generally in second place in Europe for the bounce after the UK — says Ruslan Koblev. — However, we have now the second year there lasts the extradition of the head of a large commercial structure. The courts of all levels upheld the extradition requests, we joined at the very last stage, wrote a petition to the Supreme court and the Austrian government. So far so good — all decisions overturned, has sent business on new consideration”.
According to the lawyer, and Austria tend not to trust the Russian law enforcement authorities when they say that man is kept in reasonable conditions, will not be condemned for other things, etc. they Have reason, in 2015, accused in the murder of Anatoly Radchenko was extradited from Austria on the condition that he be kept in prison that meets international requirements. Later, the Austrian Consul visited Radchenko in jail and called the detention conditions “inhuman”. Largely because of this, Austria has revised its decision to extradite the alleged leader of the gang of Aslan Gagieva — 2016 Vienna court freed him, though the company previously promised to send to Russia.
But in complete safety in Austria to feel impossible: over the past five years, the country issued at least three: suburban businessman Vasily Grishaeva, accountant of a private firm Tatiana Frozen, the former owner of Bank VEFK Alexander Gitelson. They were suspected of fraud and embezzlement. To be a suspect on the economic case and to affirm the failure of the Russian justice little need to emphasize the political motivation of the prosecution. Recently, Austria has refused to extradite the former head of “Bashneft” Ural Rakhimov because of this.
The Swedish authorities are also ready to see the political implications, if there are at least some grounds. “The entrepreneur will be easy to avoid extradition if he proves that the case against him was fabricated by the authorities — at least for the purpose of obtaining business”, — says the head of the criminal practice of the legal Bureau of BMS Law Firm Timur Huta. In addition, the Prime Minister of Sweden, before explaining possible failures in the extradition of the fact that his state is no certainty whether issued to apply at home properly.
Famous entrepreneurs in Sweden, however, has not been hiding. But the Swedes hid Aslan Adaev, accused of banditry and participation in illegal armed groups, and former NBP Alexey Makarov, declared wanted in the Marsh case. In 2008, the Russian foreign Ministry declared Sweden a “safe haven for terrorists.”
In some countries of Europe it has a dual system of approval of extradition, which complicates the results. For example, in Poland the decision to extradite should stand trial, then it must be approved by the Minister. In this case, if the court found extradition inadmissible, the Minister to intervene. “Moreover, the Prosecutor’s office of Poland in principle may refuse to transmit to the court the extradition request if it considers a fugitive a victim of political repression”, — says Timur Futami, citing the example of the accused in the Chechen separatist Akhmed Zakayev: request for his extradition Poland is considered abandoned.
A similar system operates in France — the results endorsed by the Prime Minister. The country is not considered completely safe for Russian fugitives, but popular: many in the country property and the business. The founder of Mezhprombank Sergey Pugachev got over to France from the UK, where London’s High court sentenced him to two years imprisonment for contempt of court.
The most notorious case in recent times — a former head of Kazakhstan’s BTA Bank Mukhtar Ablyazov, accused of embezzling. France endorsed the Russian request to extradite Ablyazov, but the attorneys now appeal against that decision. Businessman is waiting for the verdict in jail. Here is how he describes the conditions in French detention center: “All is calm, human. Patted pockets, and missed. With him were given two-liter water bottle, food packing, bag with sleeping things, in the same dish, tongs, nails, a comb, a toothbrush, two tubes of toothpaste, five disposable razors and two bottles of shampoo. Room narrow as a pencil case, on the left side of the toilet, shower, sink with hot and cold water. On the right side a bunk bed and a window with bars. In the aisle not to turn around, but in the corner hung a Philips TV, which is the only news channel”.
According to Vitaly Arkhangelsky, not so important, in what country of Europe to flee. “The question is: what’s your story whether you are a real refugee, how qualified and experienced you lawyers,’ he says. — We have had customers in the Czech Republic, Italy, Spain, Germany, Poland, Denmark, Estonia, Bulgaria, and all were successful.”
Ruslan Koblev more categorical: “we Need to understand that almost all continental European countries issue the extradition request to Russia. I only suggest all the UK — only from there does not give anyone”.
According to the Prosecutor General, in this country lies about 50 Russians. One of the biggest failures of Russian justice — the refusal to extradite one of the former heads of Yukos, Leonid Nevzlin living in the country since 2003.
But Israel is trying not to give only their citizens are people with citizenship or at least Jewish roots, the lawyers suggest this option. While in exceptional cases can extradite and “their” — the first time the country has given Israelis in 2002. It was Russian Andrey Zhuravlyov, accused of several murders. In 2004, he met in Moscow.
UK over the past 100 years gave Russia only one man: he was accused of murder, and not in economic crime
“If it is about Israeli citizen, Israel has a right, and in certain cases even obliged to call for the extradition obligation to return the person to serve his sentence in Israel, says lawyer Eli gerwitz. — There were cases when the refusal of Russia to give such a commitment has led to the fact that the Minister of justice simply refused to sign the extradition order, whom the Supreme court ordered Russia”.
There is such a thing. If the person is eligible for Israeli citizenship, went to the country just to avoid prosecution, Israel could not accept it. Perhaps it happened with the founder of Mirax Sergey Polonsky. However, he denies it.
The UAE has long been a popular refuge, but in 2014, has signed an agreement with Russia about the results. Prior to this, the Prosecutor General’s office complained that the UAE can satisfy only a quarter of queries. For example, in 2010 the country has refused to extradite businessman Alexander Kukovyakin accused of deliberate bankruptcy hydrolysis plant in Yekaterinburg. The formal reason — in the UAE, this action is not considered a crime. To announce the successful extradition Kukovyakin Russia was able only in 2015, after it accused him of forming a criminal gang.
However, lawyers say that law enforcement agencies in the UAE are not working perfectly, so hide if you want you can — the chances of being arrested just less than in Europe. There are gimmicks. For example, Ruslan Koblev tells about the fugitive, who had avoided extradition you intentionally past due payment on a large loan — in the UAE it is a criminal offence. Instead of the Russian prison he ended up in Arabic — the grant was denied. After that, the lender withdrew the claims, the man was released and disappeared.
The post-Soviet space has never been a safe area for fugitive from Russian justice entrepreneurs, but in recent years there has been some changes.
“After the start of the cold war between Kiev and Moscow, the sides will be extradited representatives of the crime, but refuse to give entrepreneurs and political criminals”, — shares his observations Timur Huta. High-profile stories involving entrepreneurs is not there, but in 2014, Ukraine has refused to grant rufer Paul Usuca, vivacissimo on the Stalinist skyscraper in Moscow Ukrainian flag and pokrasivshe half of the star blue.
Similar is the situation with the extradition from Georgia. In 2015, Russia refused to participate in the Treaty on extradition and Georgia responded in kind. In addition, diplomatic relations between the two countries has not been restored, and this complicates any international legal Affairs. In 2012, Georgia has not issued Akhmed chatayev, which we believe is involved in the terrorist attack at the airport in Istanbul.
However, Vadim Klyuvgant believes that we should not expect relations between the two countries: “It would be a serious mistake to draw direct Parallels between the foreign policy relations between States, and the fate of a particular extradition request, in one and the same state can be quite the opposite outcomes of different queries against different persons for different cases. In other words, it’s an individual question. And, therefore, need to be protected individually and very professional, avoiding simplification”.
After refusing the request for extradition too early to relax — you also need to gain a foothold in the country. Failure is a valid reason for obtaining refugee status — this option is very popular. Some served on the refugee status during the judicial process of extradition or even before it starts, and then it becomes another characteristic of the person before the judge. But there is one important condition — almost everywhere require that a person never crossed other safe countries and had them visas to enter the state where he requests asylum.
To leave the country after the successful completion of the process of extradition is not prohibited, but it is not always safe. The decision to refuse extradition, adopted in any one country does not mean that person will be removed from the international wanted list, so he can be arrested in any other state. For example, the Senior Group founder Nikolai Koblyakov has collected a full house. After leaving Russia he became a citizen of France. Then he was arrested in Bulgaria, but the country has refused to extradite him. Then Koblyakov again passed through the court on extradition in France. In 2015 he was removed from Interpol’s wanted list as “persecuted for political reasons”.
If one wants ever to go back, he should engage in his criminal case, no less than by the court on extradition. “With the liberals of the local I are not friends, although they try to entice me into their circle. I want to return to Russia — all the money I have always invested in the country, and the business I want to do at home”, — says Mikhail Shamanov. However, most of the fugitives are still torn from the homeland and start a new life.
Illustration: Bell Lane / “The Secret”
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