UK says Russian mobile tycoon’s case not political – report

The British Crown Prosecution Service is to state in court that it does not see a political or economic angle in the criminal case against self-exiled Russian businessman Evgeny Chichvarkin, reports Kommersant daily.

The Russian newspaper, citing its sources, says the British prosecutors will argue against the defense position of the runaway former owner of Evroset mobile retail at the Westminster Court hearings on Tuesday.

The CPS believes that the political motive for the case alleged by Chichvarkin does not exist. His short-lived chairing of the Moscow branch of the Right Cause political party is not linked to the criminal investigation against him.

Chichvarkin did not suggest such a link before being summoned by the British court, which is to rule on an extradition request from Russia. Also, other leaders of the party did not face any mistreatment in Russia.

The British investigators sided with their Russian colleagues after finding the evidence against Chichvarkin – who is suspected of being involved in the kidnapping of his former employee over the alleged theft of a large number of cell phones in 2003 – convincing. In addition, there are testimonies of other suspects pointing at Chichvarkin as the person who gave the orders and financially supported their actions, forensic examinations and wiretap phone conversations of the businessman himself, where he allegedly admits his involvement in the abduction.

The five years which separate the alleged crimes and the launch of the criminal case is attributed to the victim’s fear for his life. Only after he and other prosecution witnesses were offered protection did they agree to testify against suspects.

The CPS also dismissed defense statements that Russian authorities launched a criminal investigation against him to force him to sell his company, Kommersant says. After the sale the businessman did not try to protest the deal and did not call it forced in his numerous interviews.

No official comments on the information followed for either party. Officials suggest waiting for the court to pass its ruling.

Evgeny Chichvarkin fled to Britain shortly after the investigation against him was launched in Russia. He is now on a ₤100,000 bail waiting for the British court to consider the extradition request.