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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Anonymous Dec. 13, 2011, 3:16 p.m.    

Yanukovych and Party of Regions decriminalized everything that Yanukovych and Party of Regions is about - corruption.

Typical Yanukovych PoR say one thing do another.

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Anonymous Dec. 13, 2011, 3:57 p.m.    

PoR is doing wonderful things for itself, not for the country.

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Anonymous Dec. 13, 2011, 5:09 p.m.    

The article says on &quot;On Dec. 16, the Verkhovna Rada passed a law amending certain Ukrainian statutory acts...&quot;. Today is Dec. 13. Does KP have a crystal ball?

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Anonymous Dec. 13, 2011, 7:16 p.m.    

So, the guy with the stolen Mercedes won't be prosecuted.

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Anonymous Dec. 13, 2011, 10:35 p.m.    

So his cronies of thieves will get off, but any political opposition leaders will rot in jail???

How predictable: he exploits Ukraine's resources for his cadre of thieves.

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Anonymous Dec. 13, 2011, 11:52 p.m.    

Just don't get caught because there will be some MILD embarassment!

Its only MONEY $$$ and its not like there isn't enough to go around for those bold enough to TAKE, TAKE &amp; TAKE somemore!

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Anonymous Dec. 14, 2011, 4:59 a.m.    

Sounds like the the government in power has decided that it is better to accept the bribe through a legal means. Given that bribery would be a common means to get-out-of-jail for the crimes mentioned being amended, it does make sense to make the criminal acts finable instead of detention resolved offences. I think what you will see after these laws are enacted is that a lot of the 'poorer' businesses who break the law are going to be rapped with fines while the richer (i.e.: politically connected) are going to be charged with the minimals. Of course, the current system of the politically connected paying a bribe and the rest going to jail isn't much better.

In regards to the criminal actions of Tymoshenko: even if the articles she is charged under were included, the question of whether the amendments would be applied retroactively (for crimes persecuted before the laws come into effect) would need to be asked. Many people (and news agencies) do not seem to take this into account, and spend their time berating the government for not amending article 365 to a finable offence with the belief that it would get Tymoshenko out of jail without considering the issues of retroactivity. At best, even if retroactivity was provisioned, there would need to be a retrial.

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