12 Mar 2010 18:42

Russian bill to liberalize economic crimes legislation passes 1st reading

MOSCOW. March 12 (Interfax) - A draft law to seriously liberalize legislation on economic crimes passed the first reading in the State Duma on Friday.

One of the measures to be prescribed by the proposed law, which has been introduced by President Dmitry Medvedev, is extending the list of crimes that do involve pre-trial custody for those suspected of them.

In addition, the list would include fraud, embezzlement, property damage through deceit or abuse of trust, illegal business enterprise, illegal banking, illegal borrowing, persistent evasion of debt repayment, and attempts to limit or obstruct competition.

Those suspected of such crimes would have to post bail, with the amount depending on the nature of the suspected crime, the suspects' personal record and their financial status.

Bail would be payable with real estate and personal property including money, valuables, and shares of stock and bonds that are permitted for public sale in Russia.

Those suspected of offenses in these category might be temporarily prohibited from leaving Russia.

The planned law would also liberalize legislation on money laundering and other financial crimes.

One would be able to take more than 30 million rubles out of Russia and fail to bring it back without being charged with a serious-category offense. Today failure to return more than 5 million rubles to the country is a crime the current laws.

It is also considered as a serious offense today to evade paying customs duties to a total of more than 500,000 rubles, as well as, an exceptionally serious offense to dodge customs duties totaling 1.5 million rubles. The proposed law would raise the limits to 3 million and 36 million rubles respectively.

There would also be stricter penalties for officials raising obstacles to lawful business enterprise.