Investigative agencies exceed authority to pressure business


Subject of complaint: Main Investigative Bureau of the Ministry of Internal Affairs
Complaint in brief: The officials of an international company in Ukraine complained that the company’s premises had been searched, its employees interrogated, and company documents seized as part of an ongoing criminal investigation. According to the complainant’s sources, the criminal investigation into its activities was launched for alleged VAT evasion by paying two local companies for fictitious delivery charges. The complainant’s authorized representatives denied the allegations as malfeasance, citing court rulings in their favor. They said a criminal investigation had been launched and the investigators’ actions were intended to put pressure on the company.
Action taken: BOC experts analyzed the information in the complaint, reviewed related legislation, in particular the Criminal Procedural Code, and met with the authorized representatives of the Interior Ministry’s Main Investigative Bureau and the investigator in charge of the case.
The Council’s experts determined that the criminal investigation was legitimate and the allegations of the Ministry’s Main Investigative Bureau were within its competence. Following the proper procedures, however, the Council concluded that the investigator’s actions were excessive and, possibly, intended to put pressure on the company, its management and employees.
Given this, the Council proposed that the Main Investigative Bureau to issue a formal apology to the complainant and abstain from such unwarranted pressure in the future.
Result achieved: After the Main Investigative Bureau’s investigators were informed that they were expected to strictly abide by the Criminal Procedural Code in their actions, a formal letter of apology was issued by the Bureau, and positive feedback was received from the complainant. The Council then closed the case.

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