State Duma committee backs bill to fence business from criminal society related charges
MOSCOW, January 16 (RAPSI) – The State Duma Committee on Security and Combating Corruption has recommended that a presidential bill to limit the application of a Criminal Code article defining sanctions for participation in or organization of criminal societies as concerns businesspersons be passed in the first reading, according to a statement of the parliament’s lower house.
Lawmakers have supported a positive conclusion concerning the initiative, the statement reads.
It is proposed to include in the Criminal Code a note to the said provision to the effect that founders, managers and employees of a legal entity and its units are not to be criminally prosecuted exclusively on the basis of the organizational structure thereof and economic crimes related to their business or other economic operations except for the cases where a legal entity or its units have been specifically established for committing a serious crime an especially serious crime, or a number thereof.
The explanatory note to the bill clarifies that the respective article has been introduced in the section of the national Criminal Code dealing with complicity in crimes committed by criminal gangs with the aim of fighting professional organized criminal activity, including a later provision introducing criminal responsibility for taking a leading role in the criminal hierarchy.
A criminal society (criminal organization), the explanatory note reads, is different from other criminal gang types as to its more complicated internal structure, the aim to jointly commit serious or especially serious crimes for direct or indirect financial or other material gain, and possible concerted actions of two or more organized groups with the same aim.
In the explanatory note it is also observed that since recently in judicial and investigative practices there has been registered an alarming trend that the provisions of the Criminal Code article described above have been being formally applied to founders, managers, and employees of organizations carrying out routine economic and other activities in no way relating to organized crime.
According to the note, in such cases additional criminal society related charges brought alongside those laid with respect to crimes committed in the sphere of entrepreneurial and other economic activities are used to circumvent another Criminal Code article prohibiting detention of businessperson. It is to be noted that the maximum punishment for criminal society related crimes makes up to 20 years in prison.
The proposed changes in the Criminal Code are to correct this legislative gap, the explanatory note reads.