Economic Development Ministry opposes amnesty for convicted businessmen

Russian Economic Development Deputy Minister Sergei Belyakov, who supervises public-private partnership issues and liaison with business, has opposed the idea to amnesty businessmen convicted on economic counts.

"I will never support this idea, never in my life," Belyakov told reporters in Moscow on Wednesday.

"Punishment for a deed does not depend on the personality of the wrongdoer but on what he has done and what motives he has had. How can the same crime, for example, fraud, be treated and evaluated differently depending on its perpetration by a businessman or a non-businessman?" he explained.

"The person whose rights are infringed does not care who has deceived him - a businessman or a non-businessman. And how is it possible to draw a line between a businessman's socially dangerous action and an action, which is not publicly condemned? Who is going to decide whether he deserves special treatment or not?" the deputy minister wondered.

He stressed that lesser punishment for such crimes should be discussed in general, irrespective to the perpetrators.

"Yet it is absolutely impossible to link the degree of responsibility to one's being a businessman or not," he said.

The proposal to amnesty businessmen "is an attempt to find an easy solution to a complex task," he argued.

Russian Presidential Ombudsman for Business Rights Boris Titov has proposed an amnesty for convicted businessmen.

Russian President Vladimir Putin said at the Voronezh business fostering conference on May 23, "Let's decide to take a careful look at this proposal. I think you will agree with me that it still needs quite a lot of work to be done on it."

The president proposed to discuss the possible amnesty for economic crimes with experts and the Prosecutor General's Office.

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