MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia’s lower house of parliament last week approved an amnesty which could free thousands of entrepreneurs jailed for business crimes.
Here are some details on the amnesty:
- It applies to 27 crimes including the following articles from Russia’s Criminal Code:
159.1 - credit fraud
159.4 - fraud in the sphere of entrepreneurial activities
176 - obtaining credit illegally
177 - evading repaying debt
196 - premeditated bankruptcy
191 - illegal trafficking of metals
- The scope of the amnesty is narrower than the 50-plus articles originally proposed. It does not include other items in Article 159 (fraud); 160 (embezzlement); and 165 (damaging property by deception).
- The amnesty will last for six months. About 5,000-6,000 people are expected to be released, Alexei Nazarov of business association Delovaya Rossiya, said at a recent panel discussion.
- Boris Titov, an ombudsman whose role is to relay the concerns of business to the government, proposed the amnesty last year. He estimates that the amnesty could help 100,000 people with criminal cases against them, and could free 3,000 to 10,000. here
- Titov estimates that about 13,000 prisoners are in jail for business crimes. Not all of those will be freed, as the amnesty will not cover those with multiple convictions.
- Russia’s Prosecutor General Yuri Chaika was quoted by Russian news agency Ria Novosti on Tuesday saying that about 10,000 entrepreneurs could benefit from the amnesty.
- A Facebook group dedicated to helping people and their relatives charged with article 159 is here: here
- An opinion poll published by Russian Public Opinion Research Center (VCIOM) in May showed that 33 percent of Russians support the amnesty and 36 percent oppose it: here
- An opinion poll by Russia's Levada Center in May showed that 38 percent of entrepreneurs want to leave Russia: here
- The amnesty was passed by 298 members of Russia's lower house of parliament, or 66 percent of the 450 who voted. For a link to the vote: vote.duma.gov.ru/vote/81895
Reporting by Megan Davies; Editing by Louise Ireland