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Sentence for Navalny brothers may be repealed and criminal case terminated — lawyer

The court has acknowledged that the actions the Navalny brothers were accused of did not constitute a crime, the lawyer said

MOSCOW, October 17. /TASS/. The sentence for brothers Alexei and Oleg Navalny in the Yves Rocher case may be repealed and the criminal case itself may be terminated, lawyer Olga Mikhailova told TASS on Tuesday.

"After today’s judgment by the ECHR, the chairman of Russia’s Supreme Court should institute supervisory proceedings under this case. The ruling must be repealed by the Presidium of the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation and the criminal case must be terminated," the lawyer said.

"As an important aspect in this judgment, the court has acknowledged that the actions the Navalny brothers were accused of did not constitute a crime. The Court applied Article 7 [of the European Convention on Human Rights], which is seldom applied," Mikhailova added.

The ECHR ruled in its judgment that "the Russian courts, in determining the criminal charges against the applicants, had extensively and unforeseeably construed to their detriment the offence of commercial fraud under the Russian Criminal Code. It had therefore not been foreseeable that the applicants’ commercial conduct would constitute fraud or commercial fraud. Consequently, it had been equally unforeseeable that the profits derived from their commercial activities would constitute the proceeds of crime."

On December 30, 2014, Moscow’s Zamoskvoretsky Court found the Navalny brothers guilty of embezzling Yves Rocher funds and sentenced Alexei Navalny to a suspended sentence of 3 years and 6 months, while Oleg Navalny was sentenced to 3 years 6 months in a general-security colony.

The court also ordered the Navalny brothers to pay over 4 million rubles ($65,000) in compensation under a lawsuit filed by Multiprofile Processing Company recognized as an affected party under the embezzlement case, and also fined each brother 500,000 rubles ($8,300).

The Moscow City Court later upheld the verdict and relieved Alexei Navalny of the additional punishment in the form of the 500,000-ruble fine due to procedural violations. In late 2015, Alexei Navalny repaid all the liabilities both for himself and his brother.

On August 4, 2017, Moscow’s Simonovsky court granted the motion by the Russian Federal Penal Service and extended Alexei Navalny’s probation term under the Yves Rocher case for one year until December 30, 2020.

As Russia’s Justice Ministry noted on Tuesday, the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) has found no political persecution in the Yves Rocher embezzlement case against brothers Alexei and Oleg Navalny.

Following the results of examining the complaint by the Navalny brothers, the ECHR has considerably reduced the claimed sums of compensation for moral damage, judicial expenses and costs, and also fully denied compensation for payments they made under a civil lawsuit, the Justice Ministry said.

At the same time, the Justice Ministry does not agree with the ECHR’s position on procedural violations in bringing the Navalny brothers to criminal liability and applying the norms of Russian criminal and civil law.

"Currently, the ECHR’s judgement on the case of the Navalny brothers vs. Russia has not entered into force. The legal position on the possibility of appealing against it in the ECHR Grand Chamber will be formulated within three months," the Justice Ministry said.