State Bureau of Investigation returns seized property to a law firm

Other issues Kyiv

Complainee: State Bureau of Investigations 
Complaint in brief:  Within a criminal proceeding law enforcers conducted a search in the office building, including the premises of a law firm and seized its laptops. The computer equipment that belonged to the law company was not on the list of items that were subject to search and seize. As the investigator and the prosecutor did not request the investigative judge to arrest the property within 48 hours after its seizure, it had to be returned immediately. For more than a month, the State Bureau of Investigations ignored the company’s requests and continued to retain the property that made the company appeal to the investigative judge. The latter satisfied the company’s appeal and obliged the State Bureau of Investigations to return the seized laptops. However,  such inaction of the law enforcers continued, and the law firm lodged a complaint with the Business Ombudsman Council.
Actions taken: The BOC investigator examined the case file, and acknowledging its substance, he prepared an appeal to the State Bureau of Investigations and the Prosecutor General’s Office asking for immediate return of the seized property to the complainant or to explain thoroughly why the return of the property was impossible. In response, the BOC was informed that the State Bureau of Investigations had not received a ruling of the investigative judge, which satisfied the company’s appeal, so it could not return the property. The BOC submitted the subject for consideration of the Permanent Working Group with the Prosecutor General’s Office, and repeatedly appealed to the State Bureau of Investigations requesting to return the seized property, as the case circumstances implied such an obligation regardless of the investigating judge’s ruling.
Result achieved: The State Bureau of Investigations finally complied with the BOC recommendations and returned the computers to the law firm. The case was successfully closed.

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