MOSCOW, December 12 - RAPSI. The suspects in a gold smuggling case filed against a jewelry chain's managers seek to close the case as their actions are no longer seen as a criminal offense, Tatyana Nozhkina, a counsel for the chain's top manager Antonina Babosyuk, told the Russian Legal Information agency (RAPSI/

"We have applied to close the case in view of the amendments to the Criminal Code endorsed by President Dmitry Medvedev on December 7, whereby no form of implication in the smuggling of goods is regarded as a crime. For this reason, we have requested to drop the charges," the lawyer said.

The defense also seeks the release of those suspects who are kept behind bars.

The FSB launched criminal proceedings against several Altyn top managers on smuggling charges in October 2009.

Investigators maintain that the suspects smuggled gold from Kazakhstan to later be sold in Altyn shops.

The Altyn Jewelry Holding was founded in 1990. The company had a wide network of jewelry stores in Russia and abroad, including the United Arab Emirates.

The jewelry company asserted that the criminal cases against its management were organized by rivals seeking to oust the company from the Russian market.