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    The accused Mikhail Ovsyannikov: testimonies against Pichugin were made under pressure | 17 Jul 2006

    Mikhail Ovsyannikov (in centre). Photo KommersantThe second trial against Alexey Pichugin, continuing at Moscow State Court, presently is transitioning into new stage. The examinations of accused are coming to the end and the debates are opening.

    On 17 July 2006 hearing Alexey Pichugin and Mikhail Ovsyannikov had the floor. Furthermore, the calligraphy expert invited by the defence presented the court a conclusion of calligraphic expertise the results of which are included into the case.

    Alexey Pichugins speech

    „Your Honor! I do acknowledge myself guilty under neither of article of the accusation made against me. I have not committed any crime. And I have neither seen any of the accused, but Ovsyannikov, before the trial. Nor did I see any of the victims. I have nothing to explain to the court about the circumstances [imputed to me] of the crimes and I can not because I did not commit them.

    I refuse to answer any questions of the further hearing. Your Honor, I want to highlight that my refuse is not motivated by disrespect to the court. But my desire to use the right, stipulated in paragraph 1 of the Constitution [None is obliged to witness against himself, his spouse and close relatives, the circle of whom is determined by the federal law.] I am sure the court will gain an understanding of this case and make a just decision“.

    Testimonies of Mikhail Ovsyannikov

    Before the defendant Mikhail Ovsyannikov had worked as a driver of a businessman from Tambov Sergey Gorin.

    The representatives of public prosecution prosecutors Kamil Kashayev and Kira Gudim read out the protocols of Ovsyannikovs testimonies. During questioning, according to those protocols, the accused evidenced that the executor of the murder of Valentina Korneeva, the Director of Moscow Trade Company „Phoenix“ was the accused Vladimir Shapiro (the testimonies of Shapiro himself we will not know because they were given in closed regime). Korneeva as if did not pleased „Menatep“ because declined to sell the building of the store „Chay“ she owned on Pokrovka street to the bank.

    The customers of the crime, in accordance with questioning protocols, were Khodorkovsky, Nevzlin and Pichugin, while the intermediary was Gorin. The money for the „job“ (shadowing after Korneeva and her killing on 21 January 1998) were transmitted from the customers through Gorin. At the hearing on 17 July 2006, Mikhail Ovsyannikov repudiated the testimonies he made before. Namely, he informed: „All statements against Khodorkovsky, Nevzlin and Pichugin were made by me under the pressure of investigation. According to Ovsyannikov, the Chief interrogator of General Prosecution on particularly important cases Smirnov, along with interrogator Bannikov A.A. put physiological pressure upon him. The investigation representatives, according to the accused, declared him that „this is a matter of state and the only way to escape a bad turn is to cooperate in full with them“. Ovsyannikov also stated: „I was intimidated and threatened and promised to twist no less than 18 years“ for the organization of crimes. The interrogator Bannikov, as Ovsyanikov says, warned him that „GenProsecution owns everything“ and „at any way GenProsecution will win at court“.

    Additionally, Mikhail Ovsyannikov informed the court that was never acquainted with Alexey Pichugin and saw him only once  when drove Sergey Gorin to Pichugins wedding where the former was invited. Ovsyannikov also said that in the writings of his testimonies there are variances with that he actually told during the questionings. The fact of his signature on the protocols Ovsyannikov explained with fear for his health because of menace from the side of prosecution.

    After 1998 Ovsyannikov, according to him, did not work for Gorin any more and had almost lost any contacts with him.

    On the expertise of the note

    In the materials of the case there is a note with the address of businessman Rybin, for the encroachment on whom Alexey Pichugin is also accused (as a motive they name a number actions on the compensation of damage, made by „YUKOS“ to Rybin which were brought by him against the oil company). The authorship of this note the investigation attributes to Alexey Pichugin. In total there were two calligraphic expertises — on 24 December 2003 and 2 March 2006.

    In accordance with the results of the first expertise, the resolution of the question whether Pichugin had made the text is impossible. As for the attribution of the writing on the note to the hand of Gorin there is such a possibility. However, one cannot make a flat conclusion about the author of the note.

    In the process of second expertise the question whether Gorin had made the text was not put at all. In comparison with the sample of Pichugins handwriting, but for two coincidences, three variances were recognized.

    The calligraphy expert of the Medical Criminological Examinations Centre Natalya Volodina was invited to the hearing and presented to the court her conclusion on the both of the calligraphic expertises. In her opinion, the materials at hand were insufficient for the execution of expertises. As a sample of Pichugins handwriting a copy of short note with imitation to printing in Latin was used. Meanwhile, according to Volodina, in order to have a single-meaning conclusion, the expert has to compare the writing of the same letters. And, it is highly advisable to see the originals but not the photocopies.

    In addition, the expert told that she revealed two supplementary differences between the writing of Pichugin and the person who wrote the note.

    The Judge Vladimir Usov rejected to attach the conclusion provided by Volodina to the case. The prosecution objected to this.

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  • The European Court of Human Rights. CASE OF PICHUGIN v. RUSSIA. Judgment
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  • Leonid Nevzlins interview about the «case»
  • The «Amnesty International» is anxious about Alexey Pichugins condition

  • Trial of vengeance

  • Journalist Valeriy Shiryaev on the first case of Aleksey Pichugin in his book «Trial of vengeance. The first victim of the YUKOS case»