The Presidential Commissioner for Entrepreneurship under the President of the Russian Federation, Boris Titov, proposes to allow jurors to consider business cases during an epidemic, as well as interrogate suspects online and more often take measures to release defendants on bail during the investigation.
If in 2013 1.3 thousand people received complaints about unjustified criminal prosecution, then only from the beginning of this year more than 10.2 thousand entrepreneurs have already told the business ombudsman about this. Most often, illegal criminal proceedings were instituted in civil disputes and corporate conflicts. The business ombudsman proposes to strengthen prosecutorial oversight of economic crimes so that civil cases are not prosecuted.
In addition, when considering such cases, courts most often take the position of prosecutors, not properly assessing the evidence of the accused, writes Interfax, citing Titov’s position. He proposes to include in article 30 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CCP), which governs the composition of the court, the possibility of transferring jury trials to businessmen accused of fraud, embezzlement and abuse of authority. In addition, the business ombudsman proposes to oblige investigators to conduct online interrogations of suspects, if they are not opposed. Their identity can be confirmed by QR-code or on the portal of State services.
In addition, the business ombudsman asked for permission from the regional ombudsman to visit businessmen under house arrest. Otherwise, their protection remains incomplete, the federal business ombudsman believes. He also drew attention to the fact that the courts almost never let businessmen go on bail. Out of the order of 106,000 applications for detention considered, the vast majority of them (over 89.2%) were granted. It was proposed to release only 90 applications on bail, of which less than 15% were approved.
According to Titov, the criminal prosecution, often unreasonable, led to a deterioration in the health and reputation of almost half of the businessmen surveyed. The same amount claimed the loss of a business or major part of assets. However, over 60% of respondents said they were ready to resume business after the criminal prosecution against them was completed.
Earlier, the All-Russian Center for the Study of Public Opinion (VTsIOM) conducted a survey of how Russians feel about amnesty in honor of the anniversary of the victory in the Great Patriotic War of businessmen who committed minor economic crimes. An amnesty for entrepreneurs sent to prison for minor crimes under economic articles would have been approved by 67% of Russians. 46% of respondents consider it possible to forgive moderate economic crimes. Only a quarter of Russians surveyed do not approve of release. The draft resolution on the amnesty for the anniversary of the Victory was registered in the State Duma in February, but was rejected in April, citing a survey of Russians who disagree with the amnesty. Human rights activists have initiated a new poll and now intend to submit this initiative to the State Duma again.