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Protection of Investor Rights as a Catalyst for Economic Development
7 June 2019
10:00—11:15
KEY CONCLUSIONS
An active process of modernizing the legal regulation is underway in Russia

The prosecution body is fully involved in the process of its [legal system, – Ed.] modernization. We are active participants in the so-called regulatory guillotine. <...> Last year, 30,000 illegal acts that created administrative barriers for entrepreneurs and investors were annulled or changed at the request of prosecutors. Disciplinary or administrative penalties were applied to nearly 35,000 officials last year. <...> We annually revoke up to 20,000 orders to open a criminal case — Yury Chayka, Prosecutor General of the Russian Federation.

Over the past 7 years, many necessary things were added to the Civil Code <...> including inheritance funds, warranties and representations, and compensation for losses and many other things — Lidia Mikheeva, Head, Research Centre of Private Law under the President of the Russian Federation.

Favorable legal environment is the most important condition for business development

Our company never had any problems in the countries in which we operate [including Russia, – Ed.]. We fully comply with the laws of the country where we operate — Seifi Ghasemi, Chairman of the Board, President, Chief Executive Officer, Air Products and Chemicals Inc .

Many of our investors are closely following the changes in the Russian national legislation concerning securities — Julia Charlton, Partner, Solicitor, Charltons.

ISSUES
Administrative and criminal procedural pressure on business remains high

We do not see any significant changes. Today, 84% of entrepreneurs believe that doing business is a dangerous thing, that <...> administrative pressure is increasing. Nearly 50% believe that it is growing. <...> The number of fines has increased. Liability, financial responsibility of entrepreneurs has increased dramatically, and today it is <...> nearly 150 billion roubles. <...> The decision of the Russian President that warnings should be used as the first measure to penalize businesses, works in virtually no agencies [with the exception of the Ministry of Emergency Situations, – Ed.] — Boris Titov, Presidential Commissioner of the Russian Federation for the Protection of Entrepreneurs’ Rights.

The criminal process is still a problem. <...> If a criminal case is initiated, 135 people, on average, lose their jobs in a company. Each criminal case is not only a shock to the entrepreneur, it is a shock to the people who work for the enterprise — Boris Titov, Presidential Commissioner of the Russian Federation for the Protection of Entrepreneurs’ Rights.

Experts <...> note that in recent years <...> factors affecting the attractiveness and competitiveness of the Russian jurisdiction <...> are rather in the context of criminal, rather than economic disputes — Boris Boltyanskiy, Editor-in-Chief, Pravo.ru.

According to the Supreme Court, the number of lawsuits in arbitrations is growing by more than 10% annually. <...> Disputes with government agencies drive the growth. <...> Just in the first quarter of 2019, the amounts of lawsuits to government bodies increased by 42% year over year. That is combined with a with a known background problem: the so-called pro-budget orientation of the courts — Boris Boltyanskiy, Editor-in-Chief, Pravo.ru.

Many risks are directly related to the rule of law. This is a big restriction for international investors. <...> Many clients do not want to trade in countries, including Russia — Giovanni Salvetti, Managing Director, Head of Russia & CIS, Rothschild.

Legislative uncertainty

Not a single meeting of the Federation Council – that is in four and a half years that I participated in its work – took place without amending the Criminal Code, the Criminal Procedure Code, the Administrative Offences Code and the Tax Code — Aleksandr Savenkov, Deputy Minister of Internal Affairs of the Russian Federation – Chief of the Investigation Department of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Russian Federation, Full State Counsellor of Justice 1st Class of the Russian Federation, Director, Institute of State and Law, Russian Academy of Sciences.

For any business entity <...> the most important thing is the predictability of the legal environment, business climate and government resolutions. The law should evolve, but its provisions should not change constantly, as it happens here, particularly, with the Tax Code or the legislation on preferential regimes — Dmitry Pristanskov, State Secretary – Vice-President, MMC NORILSK NICKEL.

Growing cyber threats

The economic impact of cybercrime has been very significant in recent years. Cybercrime is becoming increasingly important <...> Traditional forms of crime are blending into cybercrime — Peter Polt, Prosecutor General of Hungary.

Cybercrime is a new phenomenon, which rapidly – not just enters, but breaks into – our lives as economic beings. And often we are not ready for that — Vladimir Gruzdev, Chairman of the Board, Association of Lawyers of Russia.

SOLUTIONS
Systematic approach to the development of legal environment

We need to create a legal state planning system, because we have mentioned different types of problems here today, which require a more systemic solution — Aleksandr Savenkov, Deputy Minister of Internal Affairs of the Russian Federation – Chief of the Investigation Department of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Russian Federation, Full State Counsellor of Justice 1st Class of the Russian Federation, Director, Institute of State and Law, Russian Academy of Sciences.

It would be possible to change the territorial jurisdiction of courts with government bodies so that it does not happen so that the courts resolve the issues related to the budgets of their domestic regions. <...> [As for the arbitration courts, – Ed.], experts are talking about shaping up a uniform judicial practice — Boris Boltyanskiy, Editor-in-Chief, Pravo.ru.

Let’s add the tools that are needed for us to have discovery and disclosure [system] to our arbitration procedure code. The burden on the criminal law system will decrease, the number of complaints from entrepreneurs will go down and the efficiency and power of the civil process in business disputes will go up — Dmitry Afanasiev, Chairman, Co-founding Partner of Egorov, Puginsky, Afanasiev & Partners.

Considering the international experience

The Investment Law provides the legal framework for improving the investment climate. To achieve this goal, the law provides for the establishment of the Economic Development Council, as well as the Serbian Development Agency, which have taken decisive steps to implement their goals. <...> Also, the key laws improve the climate for investment and establish guarantees for investors. The legal environment is being improved in accordance with the laws that provide government support for investors — Zagorka Dolovac, Republic Public Prosecutor of the Republic of Serbia.

When attracting foreign investors, there are three important points. It is necessary to show support to the mechanism of international proceedings. It is very good that the convention on international proceedings has been signed. Russia has signed the convention, but has not ratified it — Edmund Jerome Kronenburg, Managing Partner, Braddell Brothers.

Optimizing the prosecutors’ authority

The prosecutor has virtually no opportunity to participate in the investigation of a criminal case — Yury Chayka, Prosecutor General of the Russian Federation.

The prosecutor’s office is the customer of criminal proceedings. The investigation must prepare materials for the prosecutor’s office, which, in turn, must control the quality of investigative materials and make a decision on whether to support the investigation in its claim or not. The prosecutor’s office must have control over all legal proceedings: that includes searches and restrictive measures. <...> It should have the right to make a decision on the completion of a criminal case itself — Boris Titov, Presidential Commissioner of the Russian Federation for the Protection of Entrepreneurs’ Rights.

We should bring back what was good in the Soviet times. It is the right of the prosecutor’s office to cease criminal prosecution, and it is imperative that the prosecutor’s office is the second key that coordinates the initiation of a criminal case <...>. Prosecutors could use their authority more actively: <...> to cancel the decision on the initiation of criminal proceedings <...> to refuse from the charges in court <...> to object to the investigators regarding the choice of restrictive measures — Dmitry Afanasiev, Chairman, Co-founding Partner of Egorov, Puginsky, Afanasiev & Partners.

The material was prepared by the Russian news agency TASS