The prosecution of the criminal case on kidnapping of the freight forwarder of Euroset, Andrey Vlaskin in 2003 and extorting money and property from him and another employee of the company ended with a crushing defeat for the IC and Prosecutor in a Moscow city court. Vice-president of the Euroset, Boris Levin, his former subordinates in the security service of the company and the ex-officer police department of the Southern District of Moscow were unanimously acquitted for these crimes by a jury yesterday. In turn, the not-guilty verdict in the case will obviously serve as a ground for refusing extradition of former Russian co-owner of Euroset Evgeny Chichvarkin from Britain; he is accused in absentia of involvement in the crime.

Vice-president of Euroset on Security, Boris Levin, his former subordinates in the security service of the company - Andrei Yermilov, Sergei Katorgin and Vitaly Tsverkunov, former employees of CHOP "AB"Euroset" - Yuri Rogov, Alexey Olesik, Vladimir Ilin, Roman Chichkov and former police detective of thу Criminal Investigation Department of Internal Affairs of the Southern Administrative District (SAD), Moscow, Alexander Kurt came to the trial. The defendants Levin, Tsverkunova, Katorgin, Yermilova and Ilyin were taken to court from prison; the rest remained under house arrest, and came to the Court by themselves. They were accused of unlawful deprivation of liberty (Article 127 of the Criminal Code), kidnapping (Article 126), extortion (Article 163), torture (Article 117), robbery (Article 161), and knowingly false denunciation (Article 306).

Let us recall, that this criminal case was opened on Sept. 2, 2008 during an investigation of another case - the smuggling of mobile phones, it was opened in summer 2005. According to Kommersant, detectives learned about the story of the forwarding agent Vlaskin during the interrogation of employees.

Investigation of the case has been completed this summer. As the final version of the investigation stated, in 2003 Boris Levin and his staff suspected the then forwarder of Euroset Andrey Vlaskin of stealing a large batch of mobile phones; they acted in the interests of Evgeny Chichvarkin and with his knowledge organized search for the suspect with the assistance of Internal Affairs Directorate of the Southern District of Moscow. Mr. Levin and his staff, as stated in the case, beat another freight forwarder - Dmitry Smurgin and forced the latter to write a statement to the police on Mr. Vlaskin. In it, Mr. Smurgin indicated that he allegedly had given to Mr. Vlaskin 900 thousand rubles to buy phones for the company, but the money had been embezzled. Internal Affairs Directorate of the SAD opened a criminal case and put the freight forwarder Vlaskin on the wanted list (last year the Southern District prosecutor's office closed the case "for lack of evidence of a crime"). As it is said in the case, the police found Andrey Vlaskin in Tambov, and then operative officer Alexander Kurt gave him to the security staff of Euroset. The latter, as investigators claimed, had held the victim in several rented apartments and beat the prisoner to extort money and the property.

Vlaskin and Smurgin had had the property and money worth of 13 million rubles taken over, they stated in the case. During the investigation, the apartment of Boris Levin was seized as an interim measure, as well as money resources of Mr Chichvarkin, which were seized in Moscow.

The defendants did not admit guilt, and Boris Levin said that if there had been any violations from his side, they can only be qualified as arbitrariness.

Evgeny Chichvarkin was accused of kidnapping and extortion in January last year in absentia because the businessman had gone to London. Mr. Chichvarkin was put on the wanted list, the case against him was isolated in a separate proceeding, and the Prosecutor General's Office sent request for his extradition to the British court. The hearing of this case is scheduled for March next year. The businessman has repeatedly claimed that his prosecution is the revenge of corrupt employees of the Interior Ministry,who had tried to seize his business.

Investigative Committee (IC) under the Prosecutor’s Office, the Russian Federation and the Prosecutor's Office has officially refused to comment on the verdict. Unofficially, as they said in the IC to "Kommersant": “The investigation was conducted thoroughly; they collected all the necessary evidence against the defendants. Prosecutors’ Office accepted the case, approved the indictment and supported the prosecution in court. Therefore, it is better to turn to them for comments on the verdict." Sources of Kommersant in the Prosecutor's Office reported that an acquittal will almost certainly be appealed, "at least because during the process they had not rejected the evidence presented by the prosecution."

Note that now Evgeny Chichvarkin is gaining the reason to demand the closure of his criminal case.