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    Court session with regard to Alexey Pichuginís case on July, 17, 2007 | 17 Jul 2007

    Alexey PichuginOn the 17-th of July, 2007 in the Moscow City Court the hearings of arguments with regard to Alexey Pichuginís case have been finished. At the beginning of the session the victim Evgeny Rybin has made a declaration. In his emotional speech he has characterized the «Yukos» oil company as a criminal organization and has stated that he fully agrees with the public prosecutionís position. After that, there have spoken the lawyers of the convict, having stated that the charges brought against him were not confirmed during the judicial investigation and having called the judge to pronounce a judgment of acquittal. Then, Alexey Pichugin has been given a last plea. The judge Peter Shtunder has called a date and a time of the sentenceís proclaiming Ė the 6-th of August 2007, 2 oíclock p.m.

    The basic theses of the lawyer Kseniya Kostromina

    The lawyer Kseniya Kostromina in her speech has analysed the proofs, investigated at court, for the purpose of whether they confirm the presence of the motive among the «Yukos»í top-managers and Alexey Pichugin for committing the crimes of which her client is accused. Kseniya Kostromina has stated that the presence of the motive for committing the crimes is not confirmed by the proofs of the case.

    Thus, the unwillingness of Valentina Korneeva to sell to «Menatep» the premises of the shop «Tea» in the Pokrovka street in Moscow, which belonged to her, according to the public prosecution, became the motive to her assassination. But after committing the crime the premises couldnít pass into the ownership of the bank (and it didnít pass). First, for to make a decision about selling, the son of the victim might come into an inheritance (and it should take some time) and to obtain the other shareholdersí consent. And secondly, the property of «Foenix» was distrained because of the suit between Valentina Korneeva and her business partner Taraktelyuk. And the assassination only worsened the situation.

    The public prosecutors had affirmed that allegedly the motive of the Nefteyugansk mayorís assassination became his actions on collection of the oil companyís debts for tax. But the defence afforded the documents to court of the tax inspectorate, indicative that to the moment of the crime the oil company hadnít any current tax liabilities. And the schedule of the old debtsí repaying, which «Yukos» received from the previous owner, the state, had been coordinated during the negotiations which in result of the assassination had been wrecked.

    Leonid Nevzlin, Michail Khodorkovsky and Alexey Pichugin also had not any motives to attempt at Evgeny Rybin. The dispute between the head of «East Petroleum Hendles» and the «Yukos»í management was solved in the Viennese Court of Arbitration, and not for benefit of the plaintiff at that. The tribunal resolved to pronounce judgment for Rybin only for 10%, but rejected the second suit and obliged him to pay the «Yukos»í legal costs. Kseniya Kostromina has noted that such decision of the court of arbitration deprived Rybin the opportunity to gain large profit, as it had been before because of shady transactions between «Tomskneft» (when the company was public) and «East Petroleum Hendles».

    Kseniya Kostromina has called on the judge Peter Shtunder to acquit Alexey Pichugin.

    The basic theses of the lawyer Dmitry Kurepin

    The lawyer Dmitry Kurepin has pointed out in his speech the vagueness of charges, brought to his client. Both on the episode with Valentina Korneeva, and on the two episodes of attempts at Evgeny Rybin, and on the episode with Vladimir Petuhov the forms of accusation are identical. Alexey Pichugin allegedly conspired criminally with Leonid Nevzlin and other persons involved in the case at an unknown time and at an unknown place.

    In this connection Dmitry Kurepin has stated: «P. 2 of the Art. 171 of the Code of Criminal Procedure of the Russian Federation and Art. 6.3 (a) of the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms require a detailed informing of the defendant about a type of the brought charges. In accordance with the Art. 73 of the Code of Criminal Procedure of the Russian Federation a time and a place are subject to proving as important circumstances of committing a crime. In the absence of the answers to the questions „when?“, „where?“ the charge canít be considered as concrete. It is impossible to defend oneself of a vague charge».

    Having analysed the proofs of the prosecution, Dmitry Kurepin has reminded that in a criminal action, depending on a presence or absence of intermediate source of factual data, the proofs divide into primary and secondary ones. For to confirm the guilt, it is necessary to have primary proofs. Secondary proofs serve for verification of the primary ones and have no independent value.

    Meanwhile, primary proofs of Alexey Pichuginís, Leonid Nevzlinís and Michail Khodorkovskyís complicity in the assassinations of Valentina Korneeva, Vladimir Petuhov, and also in the attempts at Evgeny Rybin are absent in the files of the case. The reference to Gorin, who is disappeared and by court is considered killed, can only be a secondary proof Ė i.e. which has no separate value.

    The only facts, established at court, are the facts of Alexey Pichuginís work in Menatep and acquaintance with Gorin.

    «However, it is insufficient for returning Pichugin guilty in committing crimes charged him by the prosecution», — the lawyer has stated.

    Dmitry Kurepin called on Peter Shtunder to acquit Alexey Pichugin.

    The basic theses of the lawyer George Kaganer

    At the beginning of his speech the lawyer George Kaganer has emphasized that he has been conducting Alexey Pichuginís case for nearly five years (since June, 21, 2003) and his client has always said: «I havenít committed the crimes, I canít clarify the case». In spite of that the verdict of guilty has already come into effect, George Kaganer is absolutely sure in the innocence of his client. «In 1937 the sentences also had come into effect, but later they were admitted illegal. Iím deeply convinced that after some time passes, the truth will be established», — the lawyer has stated.

    He has pointed out that the outline of charges regarding Alexey Pichugin was successfully tested in the first trial and used in the second one.

    «The crimes were committed, nobody denies it. But what is at issue is that in the files of the case there are no proofs of that these crimes were committed by Alexey Pichugin», — the lawyer supposes.

    George Kaganer has reminded that the Supreme Court, avoided the previous verdict of «guilty» regarding Alexey Pichugin, on nine from twenty seven pages it pointed out the violations of the law, committed in the case. «It was necessary to clarify the circumstances at which the court of cassation had paid its attention. But it wasnít done», — he has stated.

    According to George Kaganer, the proofs of the prosecution do not stand up to criticism.

    In particular, he has paid attention at such «proof» of Alexey Pichuginís guilt as a photocopy of Michail Khodorkovskyís passport, appearing in the case. It fallows from this document that the ex-head of the «Yukos» oil company was born on 26-th of June. The Nefteyugansk mayor Vladimir Petuhov was killed also on the 26-th of June. On the basis of this the public prosecution draws a conclusion that Pichugin allegedly organized Petuhovís assassination «as a present» on Khodorkovskyís birthday. George Kaganer called such conclusions stuff and nonsense.

    «The journalist Anna Politkovskaya was killed on the Russian presidentís birthday. Iím far from believing that he had organized this crime. Thus, why in one case we call such conclusion rubbish, but do not Ė in other one?» Ė the lawyer has asked.

    George Kaganer also considers absurd the theses about the «order» by the «Menatep»í and the «Yukos»í top-management Valentina Korneevaís assassination. As he has stated, from the witnessesí evidence follows that Korneeva asked $500 000 for the premises of the shop «Tea». And simultaneously Ė that the clients allegedly spent $750 000 for her assassination Ė i.e. a considerably greater sum of money.

    Another absurdity, at which George Kaganer has paid attention, concerns the relations between Gorin and Pichugin. The witness Veselov, as he told himself during the court session, introduced Gorin to Pichugin in 1997. Meanwhile, it fallows from the files of the case that Gorin was acquainted with the «Yukos»í top-managers much earlier. And thatís why it is incomprehensible why the «orders» for assassination were given by them to Gorin through Pichugin, but not directly.

    Even the greater absurdity the lawyer considers that the executers Tsygelnik, Reshetnikov and Shapiro allegedly knew the names of those, who «ordered» the crimes, in spite of that there had been a long chain of intermediaries (according to the public prosecution, this chain looked like this: Nevzlin Ė Pichugin Ė Gorin Ė Goritovsky Ė Shapiro Ė Reshetnikov and Tsygelnik).

    Also George Kaganer has noted that, according to the results of ballistics tests in the case, shooting at Vladimir Petuhov conducted from three barrels. And Tsygelnik and Reshetnikov affirm that allegedly there were two of them.

    The lawyer has made other examples, confirming the absurdity and groundlessness of the public prosecutorsí arguments, the evidence of the witnesses for the prosecution and the victims (including Rybin, Islamova).

    Besides, George Kaganer has pointed at the personalities of main witnesses for the prosecution, who, according to him, are not trustworthy. This is Igor Korovnikov, sentenced to life imprisonment for sexual assaults, murders and other crimes, and the members of his gang. The lawyer has reminded that Korovnikov, though he affirms that allegedly he communicated personally with Alexey Pichugin, nevertheless, «recognized» him with difficulty Ė only after he turned to him in profile (as before Korovnikov was shown Pichuginís photo in profile). This is Gennady Tsygelnik, having five previous convictions, connected with drug trafficking and arms traffic. This is a convict Smirnov and other similar witnesses, who changed their evidence repeatedly, speaking what the investigative agencies want from them.

    «Yuri Chaika after his election to a position of the General Prosecutor stated about existence of 15 sponsored cases. May be our case is one of these 15 ones?» Ė George Kaganer has asked.

    «Recently, the president of the Constitutional court Valery Zorkin has told that the number of complaints coming up from Russia before the European Court of Human Rights increased. It says that our court system functions wrong. May be, this case will give that impetus which will make to work it correctly?» Ė the lawyer has expressed a hope and called on the judge to acquit Alexey Pichugin.

    Alexey Pichuginís last statement

    Your honor! It is the fifth year since I have been staying in detention for the crimes which I havenít committed. For the crimes, which I havenít committed, Iím sentenced to twenty years. For the crimes, which I havenít committed, the public prosecution for the third time asks for me a life imprisonment. No matter who spoke here inflammatory speeches, Iím repeating again, that I have never committed any crimes. I ask you very much to pronounce an impartial sentence.

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