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Fraud as treason. The new law-enforcement practice. Commented by the partner of the legal bureau TM Defence Oleg Zhukov

Press Fraud as treason. The new law-enforcement practice. Commented by the partner of the legal bureau TM Defence Oleg Zhukov

2.5 years ago, article 275 of the Russian Criminal Code has been significantly expanded. Now treason – is not only espionage and disclosure of state secrets, but also financial assistance to another state, such as withdrawal of funds, which usually was interpreted as fraud.

About a new practiceof law enforcers tellsthe partner of the legal bureau TM Defence Oleg Zhukov.


Oleg Zhukov

The partner of the legal bureau TM Defence

«Under such broad interpretation can get any organization that transfer money of the state budget, eliminate them abroad illegally. The organization, which, for example, prepaid contract to the companies producing dual-use technologies, may look like state traitor. This article, in the previous edition, was actually demolished. If we will look at the statistics on convictions under the article 275,you can see that convictions under this article are very few.  Over the past year the situation has changed dramatically. Due to the broad interpretation of article, it began to affect many organizations and individuals who, may be, by theft or mistake, began to transfer money to foreign organizations. For example to some representations or foreign non-profit organizations. This interpretation allows to prosecute a sufficiently large number of persons. Sufficient reason now is withdrawals abroad.»


Experts have widely criticized the expansion of the article "Treason". Human rights defenders actively discuss this topic, in connection with high-profile cases of treason.

Transfer of funds to another country, actually, is the economy help to foreign state. However, it is worth to separate one crime from another, said a member of the Human Rights Council Kirill Kabanov.


Kirill Kabanov

Member of the Human Rights Council

«The position of law enforcement is different. Confusion in the law could lead to abuses. Why do we try to include all the transfers in the treason?  I believe that there should be a direct effect according to its intended crime. Here's a crime which clearly define, the type of crime, it is understandable that it already exists separately; it built the structural system by criminal syndicates, relationship. Well, so let's take a decision according to a certain crime. We are not trying to cram the drugs into the treason case, though it is also detrimental to the security of the state and the citizens. »


By law, treason is punishable by imprisonment for a term of 12 to 20 years and a fine of half a trillion rubles. As for fraud, it is the article 159, punishment may be limited just with fine.

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