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Ex mayor's wife to come to Russia for questioning in Bank of Moscow case

January 31, 2012, 17:35 UTC+3

An Interior Ministry source said investigators might select several ways to conduct the questioning

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MOSCOW, January 31 (Itar-Tass) — The wife of former Moscow mayor Yuri Luzhkov said she was planning to come to Russia to answer the investigator's questions within the Bank of Moscow case, her lawyer Alexander Asnis told Itar-Tass on Tuesday.

"Baturina stated her intention to come to Russia after she has been officially invited for questioning as a witnesses, because in that event she will be protected by immunity, envisioned by international law and Russian legislation," Asnis said.

In December 2011, Yelena Baturina sent a letter to the investigation department of the Russian Interior Ministry with her address in Austria, to which a summon for questioning her might be forwarded.

"Under Articles 453 and 456 of Russia's Criminal Procedure Code and a European convention, a witness traveling from a foreign country cannot be arraigned as suspect in the territory of the Russian Federation, taken in custody or submitted to other restrictions of freedom for the actions which took place before his crossing Russia’s state border," the lawyer explained.

Article 8 of the above convention says that even if a summon for questioning contains a provision on sanctions, the witnesses, who has not responded to the summon cannot be subjected to any punishment, restriction, or attachment.

According to Russia’s Criminal Produce Code, the immunity is no longer valid if the witness, having the opportunity to leave Russia before the expiration of a period of 15 days since the moment his presence at the investigator's office was no longer required, remains in this territory or reenters Russia after his departure.

On Monday, investigators said the Interior Ministry had drawn documents on summoning Yelena Baturina for questioning in the criminal case over the theft of Bank of Moscow funds.

Commenting on this information, Alexander Asnis underlined that Austrian justice bodies, once they receive the document from Russia, only have to hand it to Baturina, and that their competence does not envision any other actions in this particular case.

An Interior Ministry source said investigators might select several ways to conduct the questioning.

"The simplest way is to the request to pass a summon for questioning to Baturina, which is likely to be done. Also, Russian investigators might travel to Austria themselves, to carry out investigative actions, or may forward an international inquiry to conduct investigative actions, with a list of questions to which they wish to have answers," the source said.


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