PGO closed a criminal case against Nova Poshta due to absence of a crime

Prosecutor’s Office actions: Criminal proceedings against business initiated by the Prosecutor's Office Poltava region

Subject of complaint: Prosecutor General’s Office of Ukraine (PGO) 
Complaint in brief: On March 21, 2018, Nova Poshta, a leading Ukrainian document and cargo delivery service, turned to the BOC. The company complained about ungrounded searches and unlawful pressure on its business activities by the PGO. 
On March 16, law enforcers conducted searches in Nova Poshta office and warehouse premises in Kyiv, Dnipro, Odessa, Lviv, Kharkiv and Poltava. The Prosecutor’s Office reported that as a result of investigative procedures, documents, funds not accounted and earned in cash had been seized. Criminal proceeding against Nova Poshta was investigated based on articles “abuse of power” and “tax evasion”. 
Actions taken: On April 10, the Council sent an official appeal to the PGO asking to check circumstances of the case and, if they are confirmed, to bring perpetrators to liability. In its letter the Council emphasized that searches in the Complainant’s premises were conducted without good reason. Particularly, law enforcement officers did not try to get things and documents voluntarily. In addition, during the search of the Complainant’s office in Kharkiv, its lawyer was not allowed to perform investigative actions. 
On April 06, the PGO responded that the pre-trial investigation of the criminal proceeding is ongoing, and all investigative actions under this proceeding are carried out in compliance with the requirements of the Criminal Procedural Code of Ukraine. In addition, the law enforcement agency stressed the impossibility of disclosing information of pre-trial criminal proceeding investigation. 
Not having received a reply on the substance of the appeal in the letter, on June 8, the Council brought up a complaint for consideration of the Working Group with PGO representatives. During the meeting, the Council emphasized that one being non-responsive to violations during preliminary investigation can really testify that it is used for illegal pressure on the Complainant’s business. In view of the above, the Council recommended the government agency to take control of the criminal proceeding pre-trial investigation and ensure its impartial investigation without unreasonable interference with the economic activities of the Complainant. 
Result achieved: On June 14, the PGO closed the criminal proceedings against the company due to absence of a crime. In its letter to the Council Nova Poshta noted: “We are grateful to the Business Ombudsman Council for support in advocacy of our rights and legitimate interests. We are particularly pleased to note a professional analysis of PGO officials’ actions within the framework of pre-trial investigation performed by your team. We believe that closing this criminal case become possible only thanks to the Business Ombudsman Council involvement!”

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