Decision to open case against fugitive Russian judge delayed again
MOSCOW, November 28 (RAPSI) – On Friday, Russia’s High Qualification Board of Judges was again unable to hear a request from Investigative Committee Chairman Alexander Bastrykin to initiate legal proceedings against Moscow Commercial Court Judge Irina Baranova, RAPSI reports from the courtroom.
The qualification board postponed the hearing explaining that it needs to question Baranova first. Baranova, who is suspected of assisting corporate raiders, did not attend the board meeting.
Bastrykin filed a request to prosecute Baranova in January 2014.
In January, the Federal Security Service reported that Baranova left Russia on December 21, 2013, allegedly for a vacation in Miami, Florida. Investigators have no information on whether she has returned to Russia.
Baranova’s possible involvement in a corporate raid attempt was revealed during an investigation into a case of the hostile takeover of a building in central Moscow.
According to investigators, the judge helped the building’s former owners, businessmen Mikhail Chernov and Mikhail Balakirev, repossess their property. Baranova allegedly convinced Chernov to bribe the judge in the case, Yulia Bespalova.
In September 2013, Chernov and Balakirev were declared guilty of fraud and of attempting to launder the proceeds of a crime and received nine and seven years in prison, respectively. They have appealed the verdict.
The media report that Baranova is still listed as a judge but has not taken any cases recently.
Baranova, who has a PhD in law, was appointed judge in 2007 and became presiding judge in a court that hears cases of privatization, property and lease rights in 2012. The Moscow Commercial Court writes on its website that the total income of Baranova’s family in 2012 was 1.2 million rubles ($25,850 at the current exchange rate), of which the judge declared 661,000 rubles and her spouse 590,000 rubles. The family has not declared its 2013 income.