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Medvedev signs law introducing criminal penalty for fly-by-night firms

December 07, 2011, 20:46 UTC+3
“The law must be adopted as soon as possible. I will personally watch the issue,” the president said
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MOSCOW, December 7 (Itar-Tass) — President Dmitry Medvedev signed a law that introduces criminal penalties for creating fly-by-night firms.

On October 12, Medvedev addressed the problem of fly-by-night firms and demanded that a law be adopted to introduce harsher sanctions for their creation and promised to watch the matter personally.

At a meeting with First Deputy Prime Minister Igor Shuvalov, Medvedev demanded to know the reasons for a delay in the adoption of the law.

Shuvalov said the government had submitted the law to the State Duma several times but it had been put off continuously.

“The State Duma is scheduled to debate the draft law in the first reading on October 18,” Shuvalov said.

“That’s very bad. Everyone is below the mark,” Medvedev said. “Our colleagues [from the State Duma] did no work, and that’s wrong, but the government should have been persistent.”

“The country is sustaining big losses from this,” he added.

“The law must be adopted as soon as possible. I will personally watch the issue,” the president said.

Medvedev raised this issue at a meeting on the implementation of his instructions on Tuesday, October 11.

“We planned to take a number of actions to block the operation of such companies,” he said and suggested “going back to discussing the responsibility of people who submit documents for registration of such firms”.

“I think this should have some effect in the long run,” the president said, and urged Shuvalov to step up work on this issue.

“We have been discussing this topic for the last six months,” he added.

Shuvalov admitted that the president’s commends were “fair”.

“After yesterday’s meeting I got in touch with government staff officials, including with the government’s representative in the State Duma, and former deputy Vladimir Gruzdev [who is now the governor of the Tula region], who was responsible for this draft law. He said that many presidential legislative initiatives had been submitted during that period, they had priority and, frankly speaking, they simply never got around to discussing the draft law,” Shuvalov quoted Gruzdev as saying.

“Give my best regards to everyone – the deputies who were in charge of this and Vladimir Gruzdev, who is now successfully doing another job. I do hope that he will now be more involved in the region’s affairs than he was with the draft law,” the president said.

“If there are any doubts, discrepancies or, God forbid, delays in the discussion of the draft law, report personally to me and we will change the schedule. I will personally watch the issue,” Medvedev said.

The State Duma passed the law aimed at fighting the creation of fly-by-night firms in late November.

“We have changed legislation with regard to fly-by-night firms quite seriously and we will wage a real war against them,” Andrei Nazarov, first deputy chairman of the Duma Committee on Civil, Criminal, Arbitration and Procedural Legislation, said.

The draft law introduces penalties for officials who use their position and create fly-by-night by collusion. They will have to pay a fine of up to 300,500 roubles or face correctional labour (up to 240 hours) or imprisonment (3-5 years).

They will also face penalties for the use of forged documents.

Nearly 40 percent of foreign trade companies in Russia are most likely fly-by-night firms, Federal Customs Service Head Andrei Belyaninov said.

These firms oppose full preliminary notification of goods movement across the border, he said.

At the same time, Belyaninov said he liked Belarus’ practice that has made such preliminary notification mandatory for all foreign trade companies. Ukraine uses the same practice.

“We are democratically inviting foreign trade companies to join in”, but full coverage is the goal, he added.

According to Belyaninov, customs posts are ready to accept electronic declarations. Currently, 75 percent of all declarations are submitted electronically, compared to 26.5 percent in 2010. Two-thirds of foreign trade companies use electronic declarations.

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