Failed efforts to remove from the case a “starting episode” of crimes committed by Khodorkovsky and Lebedev. The website Prigovor.ru reminds its readers of what happened on March 16, 2005.
On this day 17 years ago, on March 16, 2005, the Meschansky Court of Moscow refused to drop criminal charges on the episode connected with the fraudulent misappropriation of 20% shares of the JSC “Apatit” by swindlers from the Oil Company Yukos. Lawyers of the former head of the Oil Company Yukos Mikhail Khodorkovsky and the head of the International Financial Association MFO “Menatep” Platon Lebedev yet again insisted on the dismissal of the episode “in connection with the expiry of the 10-year period of limitation”.
“If the Court doesn’t dismiss the case, due to be ceased because of the expiration of the term of limitation, and passes a sentence even with relief from criminal responsibility, such a verdict should be overturned”, explained the position the lawyer Genrikh Padva. He pointed out that the filed motion “is in no way a guilty plea of our clients”.
The prosecutor, Dmitry Shokhin, had his objections with regard to the motion. He said that the term of limitation from the commitment of the crime was not yet over. The Prosecution, according to his words, can present a number of corroborating proofs. According to the State Prosecutor, it’s possible to identify the date of the misappropriation of the shares only by way of assessment and comparison of all proofs. Apart from that, “the lawmaker allows to present proofs before the Court retires to the deliberation room for passing a sentence”, stressed the prosecutor.
The Court, having assessed the presented positions of the sides, held that the motion on dismissal of the criminal prosecution on the episode of the fraudulent misappropriation of “Apatit” shares was filed by the lawyers prematurely.
“In order to make a decision on dismissal or non-dismissal of a criminal case, a court has to study all proofs of the prosecution in their entity”, explained Judge Irina Kolesnikova, indicating that a whole number of witnesses had not yet been interrogated. Thus, the willingness of the defense to “discharge” the case on criminal episode of the embezzlement of the stock of “Apatit” shares, remained a wish, and not for the first time.
A BROKEN RECORD “WITH THE TERM OF LIMITATION”
The issue of “the term of limitation”, from time to time, emerged during the proceedings on the first case on the charge of Mikhail Khodorkovsky and Platon Lebedev of a series of economic crimes which included 11 episodes.
(See also the article “On this day, 200 volumes of the criminal case were presented to Khodorkovsky”).
The motion to exclude from the case the episode about the embezzlement of the “Apatit” shares sounded in summer 2004. It was declined at the same time. The ground – untimeliness of addressing the issue.
“The request of the lawyers on dismissal of the case “profoundly contradict Article 88 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation, in which it is said that for rightful adjudication of a criminal case a court should have a possibility to assess in their totality all the gathered proofs of a case”.
“I can say quite categorically that the Prosecution at the moment has not presented all the proofs on the episode about misappropriation of 20% “Apatit” shares”, said the prosecutor Dmitry Shokhin.
Apart from that, such posing of the question is inconsistence with the demands of Article 302, paragraph 8, of the Code of Criminal Procedure of the Russian Federation, which says that, even if in the course of court proceedings, a term of limitation is found, a court, nevertheless, is obliged to continue the hearing of the case in a usual way until its substantial conclusion. Thereat, a court, in any case, releases defendants from penalty”.
In August 2004, lawyers once again started to play out this theme, but all their efforts remained unsuccessful. The Judge pointed out again that a motion on dismissal of a criminal case on the episode of the misappropriation of the “Apatit” shares had been filed by lawyers prematurely.
THE HIT OF THE COURT’S SEASON
In Autumn 2004, lawyers once more, despite of the repeated invocations of the norms of the law, raised this issue – and once again without success.
“The Court has no possibility to evaluate all proofs and make a conclusion about grounds for the dismissal of the case on the misappropriation of the “Apatit” shares”, said again the Judge during the hearings on November 9, 2004. So, the episode on the fraudulent acquisition of the “Apatit” shares remained in the case for the second time. In March 2005, everything ended with the same “premature result”.
In general, a hearing of a case without the initial episode connected with the embezzlement of the “Apatit” shares, was, in itself, an affair, it’s like to evaluate a film or a book from somewhere in the middle. It’s after the misappropriation of the “Apatit” shares that Lebedev and Khodorkovsky penetrated to the management of the whole company, using on this filed all their criminal schemes.
(See also the article “On this day, the conviction against Platon Lebedev was enforced by a concentrate”).
However, the Court didn’t forget at all about the dream of the defense. When the time, really, came, the Meschansky Court of Moscow, on May 16, 2005 took everything into consideration and dismissed the charge from Khodorkovsky, Lebedev, and Kraynov with regard to the episode about the machinations with the “Apatit” shares in connection with the expiry of the period of limitation.
A TRACE IN THE SERVICE RECORD OF THE SWINDLERS
The ruling of the Court on this matter held: “the Court finds it necessary to drop the criminal case No 1-39/05 of Khodorkovsky Mikhail Borisovich, and Kraynov Andrey Vladimirovich with regard the accusation of the fraudulent acquisition of the shares of the JSC “Apatit” in connection with the expiry of the term of limitation”.
A similar norm was applied to Platon Lebedev – his criminal case No 1-33/05 with regard to accusation of fraudulent acquisition of the shares of the JSC “Apatit” was also dropped. However, “the expiry of a term of limitation” is not an exonerating circumstance, and it continues to be unrealized in the service record of the swindlers from the most “transparent” oil company”, notes the website Prigovor.ru.
(See also the previous article “On this day, a «reorganizer» of Yukos shell firms was taken to jail”. 5 years in prison for the head of the company “Rosinkor” Dmitry Velichko. $200 thousand for traces “liquidation” of Khodorkovsky’s tax crimes to the amount of 407 120 540.28 rubles. The website Prigovor.ru reminds its reads of what happened on March 15, 2006.