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Vladimir Krasnov, Andrei Borodin’s Defense Attorney: Long Live Free Media!

It is with great interest that I have been following comments to my blog entries. There have only been a moderate number of comments (sixty or so) but they certainly have been thought-provoking.

First, surprisingly, a significant proportion of them (over 30%) are objectively positive. Thank you for that.

Second, they suggest that it is necessary to explain the rationale behind what some do not necessarily think of as a “lawyerly” method to defend Borodin. Here is my explanation:

  1. The lopsided coverage of the “A. Borodin case” in the public domain runs counter to the interests of the forced defense of my client’s interests;
  2. The said method of defense does not violate the law and, hence, is permissible;
  3. Until the investigative team allows me to participate in the criminal case I am unable to respond, procedurally, to official and otherwise (“vox populi”) accusations against my client.

As I already mentioned, on July 21, it appears that the tenor is changing of the discussion of the situation involving the Bank of Moscow, including with regard to the character of my client, A. Borodin. Complete and total objectivity, especially in covering such a high-profile case, is unachievable by definition. That, of course, also applies to my position that, in addition to my personal convictions, is determined by my client’s position. In fact, he knows the actual state of things better than anyone.

In his blog, A. Navalnyi has referred to the Bank of Moscow hostile takeover and the subsequent rescue, by the government, of the (government-owned) acquirer, VTB, as a “giant fraud that will take its due place in all criminal science books” (07.20).

A. Kurayev, also a blogger, has written this: “They say (Sic!) that already over RUR 300 billion have been handed out” and, further on, very inappropriately, especially in the context that also features a Gospel parable, about the death, in an air crash, of a person that A. Borodin was close to (07.20.).

The magazine Company (07.19., byline by A. Krasavin) has published what are, putting it mildly, contradictory expert estimates. A. Golubovich: “This (in reference to the government’s involvement in “saving” the Bank of Moscow) is a political decision. The Bank of Moscow, which had turned into a “dump”, could not have been saved other than through financial restructuring”. ?. Osin: “The Bank of Moscow has RUR 1,000 billion in net assets”.

The author’s approach is telling, too. As he talks about the good faith of the auditors and compares BDO ? PWC, which, under the threat of criminal prosecution, withdrew its opinions on YUKOS, ?. Krasavin wonders: “Did BDO have information about the fraudulent behavior of the former (Bank of Moscow) management?”. The reporter only has one single doubt: if the auditor had information about “facts” of fraud, which are crystal clear to the author of the piece. This is how one throws in “poison pills”.

One could discuss, just as “productively”, the rankings assigned by the website kompromat.ru whose readership is likely as wide as that of the Company magazine. There, many well-known individuals have been ranked by their “criminal authority”. The top suit, the hearts, features, among others, Abramovich, Berezovsky, Vekselberg, Kudrin, Prokhorov, and Khodorkovsky. A. Borodin finds himself in the next most important suit, the diamonds, along with Yu. Chaika, A. Bastrykin, A. Konovalov, A. Dvorkovich, S. Mironov… (S. Sobianin, D. Zelenin and others are one notch below). If one were to take such information seriously then, “in a fit of righteous rage”, one could cry out: Why then have criminal proceedings only been instituted against A. Borodin? How much longer are we to tolerate this?» Well, that website is a quirky source of “information”. Why are then ostensibly serious media outlets trying to compete with it?

It seems that all of this is the momentum of bias or “contract work”, depending on your preferences.

The truth is pushing its way through, inevitably, albeit slowly.

According to new Bank of Moscow President M. Kuzovlev, the DIA [Deposit Insurance Agency] loan is being provided to VTB against the Bank of Moscow assets that have been estimated (let us revert to A. Osin) at RUR 850 billion (Radio Business FM, 07.21). Therefore, the Bank of Moscow is not a “spectacular sinkhole” or a “dump” but, rather, a fully solvent borrower fit to incur liabilities, and its “old” President, accordingly, was fully justified in offering to buy, from VTB, the bank’s shares for his own account as he realized that money could quite realistically be raised against that kind of collateral.

So, esteemed taxpayers, who or what are we helping to rescue?

On July 22, 2011, a number of publications (Vedomosti, RBK daily) reported that the Central Bank intended to amend regulations governing borrower evaluation procedures to make them more rigorous. It follows from the amendments that, as before, the CB does not view as criminal the practice of lending to affiliated companies and offshore entities, nor does it consider credits to them as a priori “bad” loans. Simply, from now on, appropriate additional reserves will need to be set up in such situations.

So, what was it that certain media outlets and certain individuals “of authority” were making noises about, after accusing A. Borodin of all mortal sins for identical and legal behavior?

This is the logic behind the slogan used in the title.

The original material was published in Russian on Vladimir Krasnov’s blog on Echo of Moscow site.