MOSCOW, November 7 (Itar-Tass) — The Moscow City Court on Wednesday reduced the sentence for former head of Sovkomflot's subsidiaries Yuri Privalov from 4.5 years to three years for the theft of 67 million dollars.
The court thereby partially granted his lawyers' appeal. The lawyers had asked for suspended sentence for their client.
They said the court had not taken into account the mitigating circumstances, including cooperation with the investigators, thanks to which more than 150 million dollars had been returned to Sovkomflot.
The defence also drew the court's attention to the fact that the injured parties had asked not to mete out a jail term to Privalov, because the latter had revealed the theft schemes and helped expose the fraud.
On September 17, Moscow's Dorogomilovsky court sentenced Privalov to 4.5 years for a 67-million-dollar theft.
Privalov was found guilty of the crimes covered by Article 160, Part 4 of Russia's Criminal Code /misappropriation of other's property entrusted to the culprit, committed by using one's office position and by organized group, in especially large amount/.
It was ascertained in the course of preliminary investigation that Privalov, in the period from 2000 through 2005, jointly with other members of a criminal organization, stole money from Sovkomflot subsidiaries and the Novorossiisk shipping company /Novoship/, spokeswoman for the Prosecutor General's Office /PGO/ Marina Gridneva said.
The money was misappropriated by overstating the commission paid to foreign broker companies in concluding the contracts of purchase/sale of vessels. The broker companies then transferred the surplus part of the commission to the accounts of the firms controlled by participants in the criminal group. In all, the group stole over 67 million dollars.
Privalov, who fled criminal prosecution, was found in Great Britain, and later detained in Switzerland. In December 2007, Switzerland decided to extradite him. However, the proceedings were suspended as Privalov had challenged the ruling at the Strasbourg court. In late June 2008, the Strasbourg court said the extradition decision was legitimate and so Privalov was extradited to Russia.
Sovkomflot is the largest national shipping company, created in 1998 on the basis of the former state company "Modern Commercial Fleet," which controlled up to 30 percent of tonnage of Russia's commercial maritime fleet.
The balance cost of its aggregate assets exceeded five billion dollars.
It is one of the few rare cases where Russia succeeded in ensuring the reimbursement of damage.
In December 2010, the High Court of England and Wales decided to partially meet the civil suit and exact 60 million dollars from businessman Yuri Nikitin in favor of Novoship and Sovkomflot. The main culprits who caused most of the damage were Sovkomflot's former executives Dmitry Skarga and Tagir Izmailov, director of Sovkomflot's daughter company in London Yuri Privalov and entrepreneur Yuri Nikitin.
Foreign companies, brokers, bankers and lawyers took an active part in arranging and concluding transactions.
The investigation against other defendants is continuing. SK officials said Great Britain had denied Russia's request to extradite four suspects in the Sovkomflot property fraud case.