Sergei Chaplian
Managing Partner, Attorney at Law

Let's start off with an example from our practice. There was a search in Kyiv’s office center. Due to the fact that the address indicated in the court decision had no specification of the exact office premise, the law enforcement officers have searched the entire building, having collected all information on activities and banking details of all lessees along the way. After two months, the lessees were summoned for questioning one by one. Investigators claimed that each of them committed violations which could earn them at least one sentence pursuant to the Criminal Code. This is a well-known principle at its finest, “Show me the man and I'll find you the crime.” Fortunately, the enthusiasm of the law enforcement agencies has been restrained, without letting the situation escalate any further.

 

Sadly, however these are the exceptions rather than the rule.

 

In accordance with the updated Criminal Procedure Code, the criminal proceedings are registered based on a claim submitted without any prior pre-investigation checks. It is a very convenient loophole for manipulation. When needed, the law enforcement officers simply register a claim on behalf of any person, listing all of the criminal offenses which, they believe, have been committed. Here is another living example. Based on a claim filed by certain person regarding alleged squatting of land lots in Kyiv, Prosecutor's Office and the Ministry of Internal Affairs performed a number of interrogations and seized documents from developers. Even though developers’ documentation on land was perfectly legal and accurate, the need to defend oneself from the law enforcement agencies has hardly been a positive experience. As it turned out later, in his opus the claimant simply listed addresses - there were more than 20 of them -, indicating that the unauthorized construction took place on the said land lots. No evidence whatsoever has been provided. Nevertheless, based on the above-mentioned “document”, a criminal proceeding has been opened with commencement of investigatory actions. Manipulation? Clearly!

 

There is a number of similar examples.

 

However, there are two simple rules which can help avoid undesirable consequences in the event of investigatory actions. First, involvement of an attorney prevents the law enforcement officers from committing procedural irregularities and abuses. Second, timely instructions, or better yet an advanced security system in the company will allow avoiding many mistakes and problems in the future. This is the case where preventing an “illness” turns out to be a lot cheaper and more effective than the actual “treatment.”

 

 

 

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