You can't put Povalko: who is interested in the collapse of the case of the ex-head of the RVC | Latest news The Moscow Post
09 December 2023

You can't put Povalko: who is interested in the collapse of the case of the ex-head of the RVC

Former head of the Russian Venture Company (RVC) Alexander Povalko may get into textbooks on jurisprudence.

On Tuesday, April 11, the Moscow City Court for the second time in exactly a year refused the prosecutor's office to return the case to the first instance. In April 2022, the prosecutor's appeal against the acquittal of the Tagansky District Court, adopted in February of the same year, was considered at Bogorodsky Val.

The case of the former head of the RVC is knocked out of the general series of criminal cases on alleged economic crimes precisely by this "perseverance" atypical for the Russian judicial system in accepting the defense. After all, the abuses in which the supervisory authority accuses the businessman cannot even be called particularly large; we are talking about a debt of only $3 million. Details in the material correspondent of The Moscow Post.

This leads some observers to the idea that Alexander Povalko may have some influential "rear" who do not want to see an entrepreneur in places of imprisonment. However, as Igor Bushmanov, managing partner of the AlexJust law firm, told The Moscow Post, the atypical behavior of the Moscow City Court in this particular case in no way means that there is a corruption component.

"From the fact that the courts in the Russian Federation do not dominate only less than half a percentage of all sentences, it does not follow at all that these half a percent arise due to the" drifts "of judges or some other way of pressure on them from outside. In the case of Povalko, there is, according to the MGS, a marriage in the work of investigators. It must be understood that cases are dealt with in appeal not in essence, but in formal compliance with criminal process or civil procedure criteria. That is, today's decision of the MGS does not mean recognition of the fact of the innocence of the suspect. It only means that the prosecutor's office did not provide the court with the indisputable facts of the guilt of Alexander Povalko, "the lawyer says.

One of the arguments in defense of the ex-head of the RVC is that the uncollected debt, which he is charged with by the investigation, arose in 2012, when the company was headed by another person, Igor Agamirzyanov. Alexander Povalko took this post only at the end of 2016, having come there from the post of Deputy Minister of Education and Science (his predecessor resigned from the leadership of the RVC six months earlier).

In September 2020, the Tverskoy District Court of Moscow removed Povalko from this position. From June 2020 to January 2022 - that is, before the decision of the Tagansky court - he was under house arrest on charges under Art. 201 part 2 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation ("Abuse of office"). Otherwise, the suspect could face up to 10 years in prison.

The lawyer of the ex-head of the RVC Georgy Antonov, in a conversation with The Moscow Post, said that only the investigation can predict how long his client will be in limbo. But the lawyer expressed doubt that the investigation may have some additional arguments in order to once again send the case to court.

"This is a very rare case in practice where a case is returned from court twice. So if I were in the place of the investigators, I would stop trying to prove again in court the unproven. But the decision will be made by the prosecutor's office - whether to return it to the Investigative Committee or not. I personally expect that they will make some formal edits there and again submit these 15 volumes to the court, "he said.

Georgy Antonov warns that due to the fact that the investigation may try to start this machine on a new one, his client will still not be able to return to normal life indefinitely for a long time, since he will be obliged to appear to investigators on calls and is somehow limited in freedom. Igor Bushmanov agrees with this.

"For the prosecution side to allow the case to be dismissed means years of work have been wasted, volumes of the criminal case have been written in vain. Therefore, I have practices when the terms of the investigation are extended indefinitely, and my principals walk in the status of suspects for ten years or more, "says Igor Bushmanov. "The investigation, the prosecutor's office, is already drying up the texture, which can be additionally added to the case, and so that it does not have to be closed for missing deadlines, the prosecution again and again goes to court with him - only in order not to stop the process."

Two other "accomplices" Alexander Povalko, Yan Ryazantsev and Mikhail Chuchkevich, were arrested back in 2018 and spent 11 months in jail. They were accused under Art. 159 part 4 of the Criminal Code "Fraud on an especially large scale." But then the "higher forces" intervened - however, in their case, it is known exactly which ones: in 2019, both businessmen were released under the personal guarantee of the federal business ombudsman Boris Titov - they were given recognizance not to leave. The request of Povalko's lawyers for a similar mitigation of the preventive measure was, however, rejected by the court.

As for Povalko, the names of his "guarantors" are also known for sure: these are the then head of Rusnano Anatoly Chubais (Povalko was a member of the Board of Directors of this state corporation) and the chairman of the Skolkovo Foundation Arkady Dvorkovich. They, like many other members of the business community, called the charges brought against their colleague "absurd" and "killing the domestic stock market" (as, in particular, the founder of QIWI, Sergei Solonin, put it).

In total, 22 entrepreneurs who signed a letter in defense of a colleague in the workshop spoke in support of Povalko.

Nevertheless, the former Deputy Commissioner for Human Rights under the President of the Russian Federation, lawyer Ivan Solovyov, in a conversation with The Moscow Post, called on the former top manager of RVC and his lawyers "not to particularly rejoice" about today's decision of the Moscow City Court.

"It is necessary to see very clearly the difference between the acquittal and the return of the case for further investigation. There is no need to look for some black cat in today's MGS decision, some pressure on the court, which is most likely not there. If someone really really wanted Povalko left alone, the court would have acquitted him. And in this case, the situation is just the opposite: the judge wants the motivational part of his sentence to be based on irrefutable evidence. That is why he repeatedly sends a case to correct shortcomings. And if the investigators are unable to provide the court with such evidence over and over again, then they may not really be, "the lawyer believes.

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