MOSCOW, June 15 (RAPSI) – The State Duma, the Russian Parliament lower house, has adopted in the first reading the bill on decriminalization of economic crimes.

On May 26, President Vladimir Putin introduced a bill on an increase in the amount of damages being the grounds for the institution of criminal proceedings with regard to economic crimes and on broader definition of fraud in the Russia’s Criminal Code, which was extended to include responsibility for fraud related to deliberate breach of business contracts.

According to the attached materials, the adoption of the law should permit to create favorable environment for compensation of damages caused by wrongdoing on the part of businesspersons and making such businesspersons not criminally liable for economic crimes. The law should also introduce additional procedural safeguards with regard to protection of businesspersons’ rights and business interests in the course of criminal proceedings, as well as prevent possible abuses on the part of officials carrying out criminal prosecution of businesspersons.

Amendments to the Russia’s Criminal Procedure Code envisage that suspects and defendants should have the right to be visited by notaries without limit on the number or duration of such visitations in order to certify powers of attorney for representation of interests in the sphere of business since the date of arrest or house arrest.