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Court sanctions arrest of businessman accused of fraud

November 30, 2011, 16:12 UTC+3
Moscow's Tverskoi court on Wednesday sanctioned the arrest of businessman Viktor Baturin
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MOSCOW, November 30 (Itar-Tass) — Moscow's Tverskoi court on Wednesday sanctioned the arrest of businessman Viktor Baturin, accused of attempted fraud involving INTEKO promissory notes worth over ten million roubles.

The court thereby met investigator Denis Chilikin's petition.

"The court rules to meet the investigator’s petition and selects custody for Baturin as the measure of restraint," the court's resolution said.

Baturin will remain in custody until January 28, 2012. Explaining his decision, judge Alexei Krivoruchko noted that there were no reasons for a softer measure of restraint for the suspect.

The court agreed with the investigator who had argued that Baturin, if at large, might escape, obstruct the probe or put pressure on witnesses.

At the Wednesday hearing, the investigator and the prosecutor asked to arrest the defendant in order to rule out the possibility of his escape, obstruct the investigation, or put pressure on witnesses. On top of that, Denis Chilikin noted that "Baturin, questioned as detainee, misled the investigators, and offered resistance during his detention."

Meanwhile, the suspect's lawyer Igor Shabanov said 'the defense is asking to select one of the three measures of restraint not related to custody. We ask to release him on recognizance, or (we request) "house arrest" or bail; the defendant is ready to pay the sum of damage he's accused of, i.e. 10.8 million roubles," the lawyer said.

The lawyer drew the judge' attention to the fact that Baturin "is on suspended sentence," and therefore under control. The lawyer and the defendant said he had no intention to escape, not mentioning putting pressure on witnesses or obstructing the investigation.

At the Wednesday hearing, Baturin reiterated his innocence. "I do not admit any guilt. I'm not guilty of anything; These are attempts to slander me," he stated.

Baturin said INTEKO vice-president Oleg Soloshchansky is trying to slander him and that forging a company's promissory note is impossible in principle, as each is issued in a single copy.

According to the investigator, on November 28, Baturin presented a false promissory note of the INTEKO company at its office in Sadovaya-Spasskaya Street, 28. It was worth 10.8 million roubles, and Baturin demanded immediate payment.

INTEKO personnel had misgivings regarding the authenticity of the promissory note. They called police, who detained Viktor Baturin.

"One can conclude from the defendant's testimony that he was aware that the security was not authentic. In addition, he stated he had signed this promissory note at direct order of INTEKO president, his sister Yelena Baturina, and that there were several such promissory notes in his office," the Interior Ministry's main office reported.

In June 2011, Moscow's Presnya court gave Baturin a three-year suspended sentence for real estate fraud.

The entrepreneur did not challenge the decision acknowledging that the verdict did not evoke any special emotions in him.

"A verdict is a verdict; a severe reprimand on record; nothing to worry about," he said then.

He expressed the opinion that the case against him had been doctored and that it was connected to Yuri Luzhkov's resignation and Yelena Baturina's financial dispute. He did not rule out new criminal cases against him.

"The promissory note in question was a sort of receipt with which I came to INTEKO to collect a debt. I'm an injured party who has been robbed; if the term of promissory notes expires, I will be unable to get money with it," Baturin said at the Wednesday hearing. He offered the investigator to get money on the promissory note and place it on an account. If the investigator loses, I will recover my money," he explained.

Baturin's lawyer said he would appeal his arrest.

"We’ll certainly appeal the court' resolution, as we regard it illegitimate and unjustified," lawyer Shabanov said.

Addressing his wife after the court's ruling, Baturin asked her not to worry saying "all will be well" and that the court's ruling was "just a formality."

"I'll win the case anyway, and they /INTEKO)/ will pay me money," he stated.

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