False denunciation sentence appeal of businessman known for dispute with IKEA postponed
MOSCOW, October 8 (RAPSI) – The Moscow Regional Court on Tuesday postponed an appeal filed by businessman Konstantin Ponomarev, known for his dispute with IKEA over rented diesel generators, against his 8-year sentence in a false denunciation case until October 15, RAPSI reported from the courtroom.
The court held that the second defendant, Ponomarev’s lawyer Maxim Zagorsky, who also had been convicted in the case and appealed the ruling, was notified of the hearing dated too late.
Earlier, the Presidential Council for Human rights supported the Ponomarev’s appeal against and asked the court to declare the sentence illegal.
As for Zagorsky, on Monday, Bulgarian lawyers spread ab open letter in his support to the court. The Bar Council of Sofia, the capital of Bulgaria, claimed that Zagorsky was convicted of his professional activity that put the governing body of the Council consisting of more than 6,000 lawyers, on edge.
Bulgarian attorneys stressed that the prosecution of Zagorsky showed an inadmissible repressive approach to lawyers as people’s defenders that crudely violated human rights and gave birth to serious doubts concerning the breach of lawyers’ activity rules and “possible illegal pressure” on the attorney.
On July 9, a court in Lyubertsy, a town in the Moscow Region, found Ponomarev guilty of false denunciation and passed the sentence on him. His lawyer Maxim Zagorsky received 7 years and 8 months behind bars. He was also banned from practicing law for 3 years. A judge held that the defendants committed several crimes related to evidence simulation. The attorney was an organizer of the criminal group, the ruling read.
The trial of Ponomarev and Zagorsky began in December 2018. Investigators considered initiation of criminal proceedings by a private person on Ponomarev’s appeal as false denunciation.
The defendants pleaded not guilty and insisted on acquittal.
Ponomarev was embroiled in a long-standing dispute with IKEA that opted to rent diesel generators to power its shopping malls in St. Petersburg. Five criminal cases were opened against the businessman at the request of the Swedish retailer. However, a probe over alleged fraud found nothing, and the cases were dropped.
The businessman believes that the false denunciation case was resulted from the conflict with IKEA. Ponomarev claims that the company thus wants to stretch the time and siphon assets in order to avoid paying a multibillion debt to him.