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Yanukovych signs law on decriminalizing economic offenses

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Dec. 13, 2011, 3:07 p.m. | Ukraine — by Interfax-Ukraine
Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych has signed a law abolishing criminal liability for certain economic offences, Head of the Main Department for Judiciary of the Administration of the President of Ukraine Andriy Portnov said on Tuesday. On Dec. 16, the Verkhovna Rada passed a law amending certain Ukrainian statutory acts and abolishing criminal liability for economic offenses, although it rejected amendments that would allow the release of former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko.

The law envisages replacing punishment in the form of imprisonment for fines for people who have committed certain economic crimes.

The document proposes canceling criminal liability for the smuggling of goods, violation of the rules of engaging in economic activity and providing financial services, engaging in illegal economic activities, failing to return foreign currency proceeds, the illegal opening or use of currency accounts outside Ukraine, violation of the rules for handing over precious metals and precious stones, forgery of postage stamps and tickets, the illegal production, sale and use of state standard stamps, faking bankruptcy, concealing bankruptcy, illegal actions in the case of bankruptcy, the placement of unregistered securities, deception of clients and customers, falsification of measuring devices, unfair competition, illegal actions with the privatization documents, and violation of the rules for the privatization of state or municipal property, or enterprises, and their further use.

The law proposes establishing administrative liability in the form of fines for all these offences.

The opposition factions in parliament insisted on decriminalizing the article under which Tymoshenko was sentenced to seven years in prison, but the majority didn't back this proposal.

The law will come into force in a month after the president signs it.

The ex-premier was sentenced to seven years in prison under Article 365 of the Criminal Code on abuse of office charges for signing gas contracts with Russia in 2009.
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