By decision of the court, the former shareholder of Adamant, Boris Berson, was put on the wanted list and arrested in absentia. He is accused of violating the requirements for the preservation of historical and cultural monuments. We are talking about the mansion of Cherkassky (Ritter) on Vasilyevsky Island in St. Petersburg, built at the beginning of the 18th century. The businessman’s lawyers deny that their client is hiding from the investigation, and consider the judge’s decision unfounded. According to them, Boris Berson is in his own house, where he is undergoing treatment.
The Vasileostrovskiy District Court of St. Petersburg has taken into custody in absentia the former co-owner of the Adamant holding and the owner of Cherkassky’s house, Boris Berson. The joint press service of the city courts reports on its Telegram channel that Boris Berson will go to jail for six months when he is found. Now, according to them, the accused has been put on the wanted list. Earlier, by a court decision, a preventive measure was chosen for him in the form of a ban on certain actions, and on his property worth almost 200 million rubles. arrested.
It is noted that the decision of the court to put the defendant on the wanted list is due to the fact that Boris Berson periodically missed court hearings, citing illness. The court appointed a commission forensic medical examination of the defendant’s state of health, which showed that his illnesses do not require long-term treatment in hospitals and do not interfere with attending hearings. In addition, the sick leave certificates that Boris Berson provided in court do not list the diagnoses due to which they are open, the press service said. The court concluded that Boris Berson was evading attendance at the hearings and was hiding.
In turn, lawyer Stanislav Sinitsyn told Kommersant that his client was not hiding anywhere and it would not be appropriate to put him on the wanted list. “The businessman is at home undergoing treatment for a number of serious illnesses. On Sunday, an assistant prosecutor from the Vasileostrovsky district came to him and handed him a copy of the decision. Therefore, the information about the wanted list is a lie,” said Mr. Sinitsyn. According to him, earlier Boris Berson received a serious injury, which resulted in a fracture of the spine in several places, so now he is under constant treatment. According to the lawyer, when the criminal case was initiated, despite the “specific corpus delicti”, operatives and SOBR came to his client to conduct search activities. This, according to the defense, also affected the health of Boris Berson.
“My client is in long-term treatment at home, is ill and is either in hospitals or in outpatient care. He cannot attend court hearings for health reasons. We also carried out a commission medical examination, where there were specialists of the highest level, including those from the Polenov Institute. As a result, a number of diagnoses were established, and a doctor was interrogated at the court session, who explained the situation from a medical point of view. The judge, for a number of reasons, did not agree to visiting court sessions. She issued a decision to send a person to a pre-trial detention center, despite the fact that at each trial medical documents were provided confirming the reasons for the absence of our principal at the court session, ”Mr. Sinitsyn commented to Kommersant.
The defendant’s second lawyer, Mikhail Tkach, told Kommersant that an appeal had been filed on January 11 against the decision of the Vasileostrovsky court. Lawyers are now waiting for the appointment of a date for the hearing on the appeal.
According to the assurances of the lawyer, Boris Berson’s condition does not allow him to go out into the street, let alone come to the court session.
Mr. Tkach insists that keeping his ward in a pre-trial detention center, taking into account the condition of a businessman, is impossible. Also, the court must take into account that Boris Berson is a disabled person of the second group.
Boris Berson is being tried under Art. 243.1 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation – violation of the requirements for the preservation or use of objects of cultural heritage (monuments of history and culture). This article provides for punishment in the form of a fine of up to 1 million rubles, or forced labor for up to two years, or imprisonment for the same period. The House of Cherkassky (Ritterov), owned by Boris Berson, is included in the “List of cultural heritage sites and identified cultural heritage sites in St. Petersburg.” The prosecution claims that the defendant violated the requirements for the preservation and use of a cultural heritage site of regional significance by his “criminal inaction” between August 21, 2013 and May 28, 2021. The damage from the inaction of the owner, who owns part of the building, was estimated by the investigation at 39 million rubles.
Earlier, Boris Berson, according to statements from KGIOP, was brought to administrative responsibility several times due to the poor condition of the house. In addition, the owner was legally obliged to carry out the restoration of the building. He became a defendant in the criminal case after Alexander Bastrykin, chairman of the Investigative Committee of Russia, drew attention to the problem. In 2016, a series of fires began in the house – according to law enforcement officers, they occurred “in connection with living in it and drinking alcohol by persons without a fixed place of residence.” The largest fire happened in June 2019. Now, according to the coordinator of the Living City movement, Dmitry Litvinov, Cherkassky’s mansion is abandoned and in poor condition – no emergency work, not to mention restoration, has been carried out in it.
Part of the house, according to law enforcement officers, belongs to the committee of property relations of St. Petersburg. A criminal case of negligence (part 1 of article 293 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation) was previously initiated on the fact of improper performance of their duties by officials of the KGIOP and the property relations committee of the administration of St. Petersburg, which also caused significant damage to the monument building.
A source familiar with the situation suggested in an interview with Kommersant that the conflict over the Cherkassky House could have arisen due to Smolny’s unwillingness to sell individual house premises to the businessman, which made the reconstruction of the building impossible.
According to the source, the problem was that Boris Berson owned apartments in the house, while the technical premises, including the basement and the attic, are owned by the city. Thus, the businessman did not have the authority to carry out a full-fledged reconstruction.
The Cherkassky-Ritter Mansion was built in 1726 for Lieutenant-General Prince Alexei Cherkassky. He was an associate of Peter I and one of the first builders of St. Petersburg. In 1706, he married the cousin of Peter I, Agrafena Naryshkina. In 1840, the house was rebuilt by the architect Yegor Zollikofer, and the facade was redesigned again in the 1940s.