Russia Moves to Ban Detention of Businessmen “Without Reason”

Amid growing criticism over the criminalization of business disputes, lawmakers in the Russian Duma have approved legislation banning law enforcement authorities from extending pre-trial detentions for businesspeople without reason, TASS news agency reported.

After the detention of several Baring Vostok ,executives including the company’s founder Michael Calvey, Russia’s government polls revealed that fear of criminal investigations is growing among businesspeople.

President Vladimir Putin has called for an end to unfounded probes into so-called economic crimes, as officials are now seeking to lure investment to boost Russia’s struggling economy.

Russia’s lower house of parliament on Tuesday approved the third and final reading of a draft law requiring investigators to provide sufficient reasoning for extending entrepreneurs’ pre-trial detentions.

“It’s forbidden to place CEOs and individual entrepreneurs in detention centers in order not to inhibit business activity during the investigation,” State Duma speaker Vyacheslav Volodin said, according to the Parliament website.

The changes will affect suspects under investigation for embezzlement, fraud, abuse of power, property damage and other economic crimes.

The bill, which passed in the State Duma almost two years after its submission, needs to gain upper-house approval and Putin’s signature before becoming law.

Shortly after the high-profile arrest of U.S. investor Michael Calvey on suspicion of fraud in February, Putin voiced support for an end to extending pre-trial detentions during the investigation phase.