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On Corruption, Again

Radio Echo Moskvy

By Vladimir Krasnov, lawyer

I was looking through the 18 December 2012 edition of the Kommersant daily and suddenly saw something very familiar: a person is hiding in London because of his criminal prosecution in Russia for fraud; Russia demands his extradition, and a court in London, having discovered an appalling level of corruption among those who are supposed to counter it, refused the extradition. What follows was reported by the InterRight information agency on 10 December 2012 (written by A. Sedunov): “The British judge was horrified by video and audio recordings that confirm beyond doubt that high-level officials at the Russian General Prosecutor’s Office in collusion with high-level officials of the Russian Interior Ministry Investigation Department are demanding a bribe of $1 million to drop all criminal charges against the subject. The amount of the bribe was to be divided as follows: $500,000 to Pavel Lapshov, deputy chief of the Investigation Department; $100,000 each to the supervising prosecutors and $100,000 to General Ignashin.”
The situation and the names are from the case of my client Andrey Borodin. He was prosecuted in the same pattern: a false accusation (a loan from the Bank of Moscow to the Premier Estate Company), a fraud charge in his absence, a request sent to London…

I looked through my materials and found this. In December 2011 (precisely when the events that shocked the British judge were unfolding) Pavel Lapshov denied the defence team’s request to close the case against Borodin, which had in fact fallen to pieces. Shortly thereafter, General V. Ignashin, in response to a complaint against the refusal, sent us a letter from which it followed that our moves were futile because the investigators were doing their job correctly. The lawyers did not content themselves with the letter and demanded in court what was required under law: a formal resolution. The court supported the complaining party, and V. Ignashin provided a resolution; in Borodin’s situation nothing changed.

I compared the facts and recalled that the case had emerged as a result of a struggle doomed to success that the top management of a very big state bank was waging to enlarge its business by swallowing yummy financial organisations. Those who fail to understand the national importance of such a method are, by definition, “fraudsters” and must live in jail. Because the founder and top manager of the Bank of Moscow during its 15 years of existence, Andrey Borodin, apparently failed to have exhaustive understanding of the situation and did not wish to give up his shares in the bank for a song, even for the sake of “pension provision” to a certain fairly highly placed “young man” (no one was higher than him at that time, according to the Constitution), a criminal case is still very much alive, not without active participation of the law-enforcement officers mentioned above. It follows from the publications that attracted my attention that those people do not leave their signatures on documents without a substantial financial interest. And it looks like that it makes no difference to them whether they open or close a case. The former, I believe, costs cheaper, but when it is both ways, one can be very well off.

At the same time evil but fairly well informed tongues are saying that a major Russian bank is rather generous financing the operation of an authoritative law firm in London that helps in a forced reunion of a mother (Motherland) with the prodigal son (Borodin) and in taking from him whatever last resources that he has retained. To pay them there without being sure that the party would continue here is like throwing money to the wind.
As a result, British, Swiss and other law-enforcement agencies at the expense of their taxpayers are busy working on signals from Russia concerning Andrey Borodin. What will it be like for them to learn yet again that some among their Russian counterparts do not wish to live like honest people and budget spending is pre-determined by corrupt interests of Lapshovs and Ignashins.

The moral of this story: what is horrifying to a British judge is banal prose of life to us. A well-known film director who is now also head of the election headquarters of the new/old president, S. Govorukhin, proved very convincingly in his brilliant film that it is impossible to live like we lived before. And is it possible to live like we live now?