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Prisoners of the Yukos Affair: Vladimir Pereverzin

Source: (info), 28/06/11


"Vladimir Pereverzin was brought from prison to the court room by police officers. Handcuffed to one of them, and looking thin, haggard and pale, he refused to give testimony against the former heads of the Yukos oil company and Menatep bank."

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Vladimir Pereverzin is a former deputy director for external debt of the Yukos oil company. He is a prisoner of the so-called "Yukos affair".
Vladimir Pereverzin was arrested on 18 December 2004 and charged by the Prosecutor General of the Russian Federation with large-scale theft committed by an organized group and laundering criminal gains (Vladimir Malakhovsky, general manager of Ratibor, and Antonio Valdés-García, general manager of Fargoil, were charged with the same offences).
His trial began in June 2006 at Moscow’s Basmanny court. On 5 March 2007 Vladimir Pereverzin was found guilty under Article 160, Section 4 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation (“large-scale theft of property by an organized group") and Article 174.1, Section 3 of the Criminal Code (“laundering of money or other property by prior collusion").
The Basmanny court sentenced Vladimir Pereverzin to 11 years imprisonment in a strict regime penal colony.
On 21 June 2007 an appeal hearing at Moscow City Court upheld the verdict. At the same time the actions of the defendant were reclassified as falling under Section 3, rather than Section 4, of Article 174.1, which is a less serious offence. However, Vladimir Pereverzin’s sentence was not reduced.
According to the verdict, the oil, produced by subsidiaries of Yukos - Yuganskneftegaz, Samaraneftegaz and Tomskneft/Eastern Oil Company, were delivered at artificially low prices to Fargoil and Ratibor, companies registered in zones with favourable tax laws (in Mordovia and Evenkiya). These firms then transferred the crude oil to Rutenhold Holding Limited and Pronet Holding Limited which sold the oil at market prices, taking the earnings out to foreign offshore companies.
The trial at Moscow’s Basmanny court was held in closed session. The sentence handed down to Vladimir Pereverzin was one of the severest given to anyone charged with economic crimes in the course of the Yukos affair.
Vladimir Pereverzin has not admitted he is guilty of the crimes of which he was accused. His lawyer Aleksei Dudnik has submitted an application to the European Court of Human Rights on a violation by Russia of Article 6 of the European Convention on Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms (“right to a fair trial”).
Vladimir Pereverzin was sent to serve his sentence in penal colony No. 6 in the village of Melikhovo, in Kovrovsky district, Vladimir region. On 17 June 2010 he was moved to general regime penal colony No. 5 in Vladimir after Kovrovsky town court had reduced his sentence to eight-and-a-half years and changed the detention regime applied in his case on the basis of amendments introduced in April 2010 to the Criminal Code (lowering the maximum sentence under Article 174 from 15 to 10 years).
On 29 June 2010 Aleksei Dudnik submitted a petition for parole for his client to the October district court in the city of Vladimir.
According to Aleksei Dudnik in the three years Vladimir Pereverzin was held at penal colony No. 6 he received 15 rewards and not a single reprimand. Until very recently the administration of penal colony No. 5 had made no negative remarks about him either.
However, on the day after Vladimir Pereverzin and his lawyer applied for parole, the administration of penal colony No. 5 issued a reprimand to the prisoner, and according to Russian prison rules while this remains in force there can be no question of parole. It is alleged that on 17 June during washing “procedures” in the shower, Vladimir Pereverzin swore at another prisoner, and when he was admonished he did not react appropriately and refused to recognize his fault.
Aleksei Dudnik, for his part, is convinced Vladimir Pereverzin was given the reprimand without good reason and solely for the purpose of intimidating someone who, as a direct participant in the deals for the purchase and sale of oil was a key witness in the second criminal trial of Khodorkovsky and Lebedev.
On 31 August 2010 Vladimir Pereverzin was questioned at Khamovniki district court in Moscow as a witness for the defence.
However, the calculation of the prosecutors, if it existed, came to nothing. Vladimir Pereverzin was brought from prison to the court room by police officers. Handcuffed to one of them, and looking thin, haggard and pale, he refused to give testimony against the former heads of the Yukos oil company and Menatep bank.
Moreover, Vladimir Pereverzin made a statement that the investigators had put him under pressure to testify.
"During the investigation officials from the prosecutor’s office sought to coerce me. They proposed that I testify against Khodorkovsky and Lebedev in exchange for a suspended sentence. It was clear to the prosecutors that I am innocent. Knowing full well they were going to send an innocent person to prison, they proposed I say in court that I knew Khodorkovsky and received instructions from him, and that everything I did was being controlled…," Vladimir Pereverzin said.
Text prepared by Vera Vasilieva
Rights in Russia,
30 Jun 2011, 14:45