This was reported to Novye Izvestia by Konovalov's lawyer Ivan Lyalitsky. On June 29, the St. Petersburg City Court will consider a complaint against the decision to extend the measure of restraint for the merchant.
“Nothing is happening in the case. With Alexander, it was just an investigative action - an interrogation on January 28, when he was detained, and that’s all, - the lawyer said, - we wrote complaints to the prosecutor’s office, the leadership of the Investigative Committee, as well as the commissioner for the rights of entrepreneurs, but so far the investigation has not accelerated this. In fact, we have a simple one-episode investigation, but I can’t say what happens there. The investigation was extended several times, but this did not affect my client”.
According to the defender, Konovalov, does not complain about the conditions of detention in the pre-trial detention center. He is in the new "Crosses".
“In any case, these are temporary places of residence, but this is a test. Alexander is holding on, his wife visits him, the investigator allows visits, - said Ivan Lyalitsky, - more than a month ago we filed a petition to re-qualify the case from mediation in the dacha taking to fraud, which does not involve detention. But there is no answer. We are fighting".
At the same time, Alexander Konovalov does not admit guilt, and the requirement for retraining arose based on the testimony of witnesses who state that he did not transfer money to them.
“In the case, there are testimonies of police officers who, according to the investigation, allegedly received money from Konovalov, but they say that they did not receive anything, they did not hear about any bribe. In this situation, it is logical to reclassify the article, although in this case we will not agree with the accusation,” the defender specified.
Entrepreneur from St. Petersburg Alexander Konovalov became widely known in 2021. The restaurateur said that he would not comply with the requirements of the city authorities and require QR codes from visitors. Kommersant created a website where he maintained a list of establishments that had joined this initiative. For several months, Konovalov was the leader of the qr-resistance in the northern capital. But at the beginning of 2022, punitive actions began against these establishments. The police carried out a massive raid on Rubinshtein's bar street, closing several establishments. As reported by law enforcement agencies, there were questions to the bars not only about qr codes, but also about the sale of leftist alcohol. Then Konovalov, already as a lawyer, tried to enter the sealed establishments along with the owners, but they were not allowed in, the event turned into an impromptu rally on Rubinstein Street. A little later, the businessman was detained by the police. Alexander Konovalov was accused of mediating the transfer of a bribe (Part 2 of Article 291.1 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation). According to investigators, he took 50,000 rubles from an employee of a drinking establishment to hand over to the police. The money, allegedly, was intended for returning the hookahs seized during the check to the bar. Konovalov himself does not admit guilt and has been in a pre-trial detention center since January 2022, trying to mitigate the measure of restraint.
It is interesting that opponents of qr-codes rallied around the figure of Konovalov. Despite the fact that the topic of the pandemic and related restrictions has long since left the public agenda, the merchant’s support group is still very active. Almost six months after his arrest, his supporters continue to record video messages in support of him, collect funds not to transfer to the pre-trial detention center and correspond with Konovalov. The entrepreneur himself actively responds to his supporters.
“I am charged with an absolutely ridiculous episode in which I am not guilty. Moreover, imprisonment in a pre-trial detention center is inadequate and cruel! Dangerous criminals should be in jail, not lawyers and businessmen with three children, - Konovalov writes in one of his last letters from the jail, - if the court, objectively and honestly, after examining the evidence, finds me guilty and sentences me to imprisonment - this is honest and fair. And when I sit for 50 thousand rubles of a lawyer's fee, when all the interrogated policemen deny receiving anything from me, when the accusation is based only on the fact that these 50 thousand rubles were transferred to me - this is a mockery of justice and the law.
This story is also a mockery of the regular statements of the authorities at the next SPIEF, where they once again urged not to put entrepreneurs in pre-trial detention centers. However, nothing really changes.