The city court of St. Petersburg refused to imprison the founder and head of the Baltic Industrial Company (BPK), Diana Kaledina, who has been under house arrest for almost two months.
She is accused of particularly large-scale fraud: according to the investigation, Mrs. Kaledina’s company supplied Chinese machine tools instead of Russian ones to the St. Petersburg defense enterprise, and even at an inflated price. The basis for the court session was the appeal presentation of the prosecutor’s office, where they considered the preventive measure chosen by the businesswoman by the district court to be too mild. Ms. Kaledina categorically denies any guilt, considering all claims of the investigation far-fetched and unfounded.
The session of the city court of St. Petersburg, chaired by Yulia Safonova, who was assigned to consider the prosecutor’s appeal, began with some delay, but did not last long. As previously reported by Kommersant, the reason for his submission was the excessive, according to the prosecutor’s office, the softness of the measure of restraint in the form of house arrest chosen by Diana Kaledina by the Oktyabrsky Court of St. Petersburg before the New Year. The businesswoman, we recall, was detained during a business trip to Moscow by employees of the department in charge of industry “P” of the FSB and the UEBiPK of the Main Directorate of the Ministry of Internal Affairs for St. Petersburg and the Leningrad Region. After a short interrogation in the capital, the detainee was urgently taken to the Northern capital.
The criminal case itself on especially large-scale fraud (part 4 of article 159 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation), which is being conducted by investigators of the St. Petersburg police, is connected with a contract concluded by the Baltic Industrial Company in 2016 with JSC “Scientific and Production Enterprise” included in the “defense” register of the Ministry of Industry and Trade Signal “, controlled by Rostec. The milling machining center of the FORT brand, which, according to the contract, undertook to supply the BPC, had to be of Russian origin, as it was purchased under the federal target program “Development of the military-industrial complex of the Russian Federation for 2011-2020.” 15 million rubles were allocated from the state budget for this.
According to investigators, in fact, “Signal” was supplied with a Chinese-made machine with Russian markings and falsified documents about its origin. Diana Kaledina insists on the transparency of the transaction and its full compliance with the law.
Considering the severity of the charge brought against the businesswoman, the investigators from the very beginning insisted on the most severe measure of restraint in the form of imprisonment in a pre-trial detention center. However, the court, having arrested another defendant, Ms. Kaledina’s deputy in the BPC for the production of Maxim Polyakov, made an indulgence for her herself, limiting herself to house arrest. Surrounded by businesswomen, they admit that the wide popularity of the founder and head of a successful company, as well as the weakness of the arguments of the investigation in favor of the arrest of the accused, could play a role. In fact, the investigators in the court of first instance limited themselves to the phrases that have long become on-duty in such cases that, while remaining at large, Ms. Kaledina can hide, put pressure on witnesses, or otherwise obstruct the investigation, however, these arguments were not confirmed by concrete facts. The defense then managed to refute these arguments, pointing out, in particular, the discrepancy between individual statements of the investigation and the real facts. So, for example, as reported by Kommersant, the investigators in court referred to the fact that Mrs. Kaledina had a foreign passport, with which she could hide. However, as the defense then pointed out, the document was found by the representatives of the investigation themselves during a search of the apartment of the head of the BPC, but for some reason they did not seize it. Finally, the lawyers pointed out that the acts attributed to their client belong to the sphere of entrepreneurial activity, and in such cases the law prohibits arrest.
At the meeting of the appellate court, the traditional grounds for placing the accused in a pre-trial detention center were again repeated and again refuted by the defense lawyers.
As a result, Judge Yulia Safonova recognized the decision of the Oktyabrsky Court as justified and refused to satisfy the submission of the prosecutor’s office.