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It is once more promised not to "nightmarish" business. "Nezavisimaya Gazeta", 23 August 2017

The Federal Chamber of Advocates (FCA) proposed amendments to the Criminal Processual Code (CPC) which prohibit to keep entrepreneurs in detention or under investigation without heavy grounds. "United Russia" supported the idea and put forward its own: a one year moratorium on check-ups of small and medium businesses. Experts remind that the current legislation also prohibits to imprison business people. But, actually, the power structures ignore even the President's assignment "not to nightmarish business".

Office of the business-ombudsman Boris Titov points out that, in fact, the out-of-schedule check-ups have already substituted the scheduled ones. And still a large number of businesspeople is under investigation, but nobody is trying to carry it out. As it was noted in the FCA, the situation looks like this: an accused is on remand and meets an investigator once a month or even more seldom.

When the investigation appeals to the court to prolong a preventive measure, it even doesn't present convincing proof that any actions at all are being exercised against the accused. The FCA suggests adding a norm to clauses 109 and 110, that prolongation should be substantiated and the term "should correspond to the duration of particular investigative actions or other processual actions with participation of the accused".

These amendments say that if a delay is not substantiated, a preventive measure in the form of detention should be cancelled or changed for a milder one. The FCA also insists on the ban to withdraw servers and hard disks while searching companies' offices .

A number of initiatives has been worked out in the UR. MP's propose to carry out inspections of businesses together with the third party: e.g. experts from the leading business associations, such as "Opory Rossii"(Strongholds of Russia). The second proposal is about a moratorium on different inspections of small and medium businesses during the next year which is declared a year of entrepreneurship.

Head of Criminal Law Practice of Attorneys at Law Pen & Paper Aleksey Dobrynin told the "IN" that the proposed amendments may be regarded as additional guarantees for advocates for defense of the rights of trustees. Although, as he says, the problem is not in the absence of norms in the CPC, but "in the banal ignoring of already existing norms and explanations worked out by the plenary sessions of the Supreme Court, on the part of the investigation, supervision structures and courts".

Head of the criminal practice of the BMS Law Firm Timur Khutov reminds that every year authorities promise to ease pressure on business, but it turns out otherwise. The Supreme Court issued corresponding explanations several times, "but detention is still applied to entrepreneurs, mostly in order to get testimonies useful for the investigation". In the expert's opinion, the problem is mainly not in laws, but in their application, therefore, "it is only necessary to strengthen the prosecutor's and court supervision of investigation". He also says that "responsibility of the law-enforcement personnel for improper investigation of a case, delaying, wrong qualification and unreasonable detention, should be increased to the maximum".

Nevertheless, considers advocate of the bureau "Business Fairway" Sergey Varlamov, legislation needs to be reformed, because it doesn't match the reality. But practice shows that the law-enforcement often ignores the law and, therefore, it is necessary to apply criminal responsibility for passing an obviously unjust sentence, putting on trial an innocent person and unlawful initiation of a case.

Advocate of the AB "Leontiev and Partners" Sergey Tchislov reminded the "IN" that toughness of the Russian Laws is, as usually, balanced by the non-obligatory nature of their fulfillment: "Clause 108 of the CPC prohibits to apply detention as a measure of restraint to people under prosecution for offenses in the area of entrepreneurship. But, investigators evade this norm by not recognizing investigated offenses as committed in the area of entrepreneurship".

Managing Partner of the advocatory office "Borodin and Partners" Sergey Borodin supports the amendments proposed by the FCA. But he reminds that the President's instructions "not to nightmarish business" have mainly turned into declarations, first of all, because the Authority lacks political and administrative will for changes.