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Business Duty Officer

President decides case in favor of business.

President decides case in favor of business.

Vladimir Putin raised the issue of the influence of the judiciary on the business climate, also proposing a specific legislative innovation to protect entrepreneurs. According to experts, it is quite realistic to expect improvement of legal conditions for business, and the situation can begin to change for the better very quickly.

Russian President Vladimir Putin took part in the annual meeting of judges of courts of general jurisdiction via videoconference, military and arbitration courts of the Russian Federation, dedicated to summarizing the work of the Russian judicial system in 2022 year and priorities for the current year. Among the key topics, raised at the meeting, protection of business rights and improvement of the business climate in Russia.

Excess pressure must be eliminated

As Vladimir Putin noted in his speech, it's important, that the decisions taken at the end of the meeting lead to real changes, improved the quality of the judicial system, and therefore - made more accessible and effective protection of the rights, freedoms and legitimate interests of our citizens. This is the key to the development of Russia as a democratic state based on the rule of law., countries with high social standards, competitive business climate and attractive national jurisdiction.

The head of state noted, that the judiciary through law enforcement practice has always influenced the formation of a favorable business environment in our country, investment climate. “Today, in the context of sanctions aggression – there is no other way to say it – against Russia, this is especially relevant.. In this regard, the question of legislative guarantees for the protection of entrepreneurs from unjustified criminal prosecution again arises., including a ban on extending the period of detention of suspects and accused of crimes in the economic sphere, as well as the selection of preventive measures for them, not associated with isolation from society. For iexample, bail or house arrest. This will contribute to the further humanization of justice.”, he emphasized.

In its turn, Chairman of the Supreme Court Vyacheslav Lebedev cited statistics, according to which, last year, in relation to commercial organizations and individual entrepreneurs, arbitration courts terminated 17% cases of administrative offenses, and 18% persons were given administrative punishment in the form of a warning. Thus, he stated, “In judicial practice, an excessive administrative burden on business is excluded”.

Supreme Court, added Vyacheslav Lebedev, constantly studies and analyzes judicial practice in criminal cases of crimes, committed in the field of entrepreneurial and other economic activities. Reviewed last year 5800 cases of this category in relation to 6600 persons. condemned 73%, and with regard to 27% criminal prosecution terminated by court. Real imprisonment appointed 6% convicts. Considered 344 petitions for the choice of a preventive measure in the form of detention, satisfied 84% petitions, but in satisfaction 16% applications denied.

"Certainly, in today's conditions, when we live under constant pressure from abroad, I mean all these endless sanctions, - as we all see, we calmly go through all these sanctions, - but the answer to these unfriendly actions and attempts to destroy our economy can be only one: expansion of the sphere of freedom and protection on the part of law enforcement agencies in general and the judiciary in particular”, Vladimir Putin said.

According to him, entrepreneur must comply with the law, “but should not feel pressure from the state either”. “This is an extremely important area for, to strengthen our economy. Therefore, I beg you to pay special attention to this and look at what, what else can be done in this area, without violating, surely, interests of our citizens, without violating the interests of those people, who are involved in certain activities, involved in some activity. There, where criminal control or certain pressure from the state is excessive, it must be eliminated", Vladimir Putin emphasized.

Entrepreneurs have no indulgences

High level of economic instability, currently fixed in the international arena, allows to conclude that, that the situation [business climate] can change rapidly, предположила в комментарии «Эксперту» member of the general council, Head of the Expert Center for Criminal Law Policy and Enforcement of Judicial Acts "Business Russia", project ambassador “Business Duty Officer” Ekaterina Avdeeva. The additional negative impact on business with “post-traumatic” sanctions stress is gradually offset by the realization of the high importance of the entrepreneur for society and the economy.

Today, as pointed out by the expert, the desire to ensure a balance of private and public interests comes to the fore. She also notes the involvement of the government in solving the problem of administrative and coercive pressure., which is a serious stop factor for the development of the country's economy.

We are talking about the formation of a new type of interaction between business and government: the relationship structure is being transformed into an open dialogue format, explained Ekaterina Avdeeva. In contrast to the solution of "point" problems and "patches" of legislation, the effect of consolidation will not be of a framework or superficial nature, but will be aimed at long-term mutually beneficial cooperation without pressure and excesses on the ground.

The request for stability in the economy was embodied in dynamic changes in rules and regulations, as well as flexibility of legislation. That, which yesterday was impossible and assumed legal liability up to criminal (for example, parallel import), today allowed to meet the needs of economic entities.

But there is also the other side of the coin.: the “old” obligations taken by the entrepreneur cannot always be fulfilled in the current realities. Important, so that the law enforcement officer takes into account the peculiarities of carrying out entrepreneurial activities “at his own risk” (Art. 2 Civil Code of the Russian Federation) and at the same time felt the protection of the state - as from illegal actions on the part of persons, mimicking under business, as well as force pressure. The main marker here will be the application of guarantees, provided for at the stage of the criminal process for real business entities, not using formal tricks to avoid them, expert believes.

“Speaking at scientific and expert platforms, we always emphasize, that the entrepreneur has no indulgence. But in connection with, that the differentiation of the incriminated economic compositions for the most part passes along the border with civil law disputes, especially when it comes to scams, very important, so that for the period of investigation of all the facts, the entrepreneur is not in a pre-trial detention center, was not deprived of the opportunity to continue to conduct business ", – emphasized Ekaterina Avdeeva.

There are other precautions, which will ensure the impossibility of hiding from the investigation, she adds. If the entrepreneur has all the signs of real activity, he does not want to live with the stigma of a "fraudster", "criminal" and will be interested in, to investigate the situation, but no pressure.

The business climate needs to improve

President's initiative to ban courts from extending the arrest of defendants in "economic" cases, does not imply pitfalls and really looks, as an act of humanization of Russian justice in relation to entrepreneurs, suspected or accused of committing economic crimes, believes the lawyer, Managing Partner of Selyutin & Partners Law Firm Alexander Selyutin.

However, in his opinion, should be considered, that the Ministry of Justice and other departments have already raised these issues, at the same time, no specific legislative initiatives were introduced in six months. And when it comes to endless extensions of the preliminary investigation or, for example, terms of detention, comes to mind that, that in the judicial system, mechanisms for assisting the courts to the investigating authorities are firmly entrenched.

Concerning the eradication of excessive pressure in the field of criminal control, noted in a conversation with "Expert" Alexander Selyutin, most likely, more humane sentencing and the above leniency at the investigation stage are implied (terms, preventive measure, pledge and so on). At this stage in criminal practice, as noted by the lawyer, no progress in this direction. And until they make real changes to the criminal procedure law, it makes no sense to rely on these statements.

Anyway, Vladimir Putin's proposals are not yet of a legislative nature, noted in a conversation with the "Expert" candidate of legal sciences, expert of the public movement "Information for All" Stanislav Petrovsky. This is more like a wish to the judges. Respectively, before the law, amending the Code of Criminal Procedure of the Russian Federation, the impact will be limited to a decrease in the number of extensions of the terms of arrest in business cases. To fundamentally solve this problem, it is possible to introduce the rule, on which the arrest of the entrepreneur is applied, only if he didn't post bail.

In general, entrepreneurs are the driving force of society., Therefore, these concessions, undoubtedly, improve the business climate in the country. In practice, I often encounter, that the same business actions, related, for example, with the issue of shares, can be recognized as an investment activity - strongly supported by the state, and actions, that can be challenged in arbitration, and can also be perceived as unscrupulous and even illegal, having signs of a criminally punishable act", - Sergey Ureskul, CEO of the Institute of Corporate Technologies, told Expert.

In this situation, before structuring an investment deal, business has to weigh everything several times and be very careful about attracting investments. And this greatly hinders the development of the economy.. As part of the proposed measures, sure expert, the situation must change for the better..

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