Source The trial in the case of the former Penza governor will be held not far from Matrosskaya Tishina. The trial in the criminal case of the former governor of the Penza region Ivan Belozertsev, accused of taking bribes for obtaining contracts from the head of the large pharmaceutical holding Biotek, ex-senator Boris Shpigel, will be held in the Izmailovsky District Court of Moscow. This decision was made by the Supreme Court (SC) of the Russian Federation, having considered the petition of the Prosecutor General's Office (GP) to change the jurisdiction of the case. The oversight agency considered that in Penza the defendants would be able to put pressure on the court and public opinion. At the same time, the Supreme Court, determining the specific place for the process, since the Prosecutor General’s Office limited itself to a general wording in the petition, decided to agree with Mr. Spiegel’s lawyers who proposed the Izmailovsky Court due to its proximity to the Matrosskaya Tishina pre-trial detention center, where the businessman is being held.
The Supreme Court of the Russian Federation considered the petition of the Prosecutor General's Office (GP) for five hours. As follows from the speech of the representative of the supervisory authority, the change of jurisdiction is necessary due to the fact that if the case is considered at the place where the crime was committed – in Penza, as required by law, the accused, who, according to the GP, have retained “instruments of influence in the region”, may put pressure on the participants in the process, as well as form the public opinion they need. The representative of the GP did not specify his argument, but only recalled that Ivan Belozertsev previously served as governor of the Penza region, and another defendant, Boris Shpigel, once represented this region in the Federation Council. At the same time, the Prosecutor General's Office left the choice of the venue of the hearings to the discretion of the Supreme Court, noting that it does not object to the process both in the capital and in the Moscow region.
None of the defendants in the case, who participated in the discussion of the issue via video conference, and their lawyers opposed the satisfaction of the GPO's petition. There were disagreements only about the specific court for conducting the process.
So, the defense of Mr. Belozertsev, although they noted that they consider the arguments given in the petition of the Prosecutor General's Office to be unconfirmed, asked to consider a corruption case in the Moscow region. And Boris Shpigel's lawyers, on the contrary, insisted on holding the trial in a Moscow court. Moreover, the speeches of the businessman’s lawyers criticizing the arguments of the prosecutor’s office were very long, and at some point the judge interrupted one of the defenders with the question: “So you want me to listen to your arguments and refuse to change jurisdiction?” To this, the lawyer clearly answered: “In answer to your direct question, I agree with Moscow.”
As a result, the defense of the owner of the Biotek pharmaceutical holding, drawing the attention of the court to the poor health of the client, who suffered a heart attack in March of this year, also named two district courts in the capital – Preobrazhensky and Izmailovsky, which, according to lawyers, are best suited for the process. The proposal was motivated by the fact that the businessman needs constant medical care, travels accompanied by doctors, and both district courts are not far from the Matrosskaya Tishina pre-trial detention center, where he is currently located.
Interestingly, the owner of Biotek himself, having supported the proposal of his lawyers, did not continue to discuss the issue of jurisdiction, but drew the attention of the Supreme Court to the unlawful, in his opinion, seizure of jewelry and two dozen expensive watches from him during the investigation. Mr. Spiegel stated that the seized jewelry was not bought by him “for the proceeds of illegal activities,” as the investigation insists, but were donated to his daughter Svetlana by her ex-husband, singer Nikolai Baskov. “Because of the confiscated property and funds, my daughter is now experiencing financial difficulties,” Mr. Spiegel explained his concern. “She is raising two minor children, and now she does not have the means to pay for their school.”
As a result, the Supreme Court granted the request of the Prosecutor General's Office, took into account the opinion of Mr. Spiegel's lawyers and decided to hold hearings on the case in the Izmailovsky District Court. In addition, the court extended the term of detention for all the accused until March 20, leaving their property under arrest.
As previously reported by Kommersant, the ICR accuses the former governor of the Penza region Ivan Belozertsev of receiving a total of 24 million rubles. from the owner of the Biotek group of companies Boris Shpigel. The money, according to investigators, was transferred in 2020 for the receipt by the pharmaceutical holding of large orders for the supply of medicines to Penza hospitals. In addition to cash, the businessman, as stated in the case, also handed over to the official a Breguet watch worth 5.7 million rubles.
In addition to the two main defendants in the case, there are four more defendants, including the ex-senator's wife. Boris Shpigel and his wife were charged with giving bribes (part 5 of article 291 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation). The actions of the ex-governor are qualified as their receipt (part 6 of article 290 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation), in addition, he is charged with illegal possession of weapons and ammunition (Article 222 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation). The three other defendants, according to investigators, were intermediaries in bribery (Article 291.1 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation).
During the investigation, the property of the accused was seized for a total amount of more than 1.8 billion rubles. Among those arrested are 61 real estate objects, as well as more than 3.5 thousand paintings and antiques from the collection of Mr. Spiegel.