Vitaly Arkhangelsky prevents Moscow’s attempts to manipulate the French judicial system
Mr. Vitaly ARKHANGELSKY, 36 years old, is president and principal shareholder of “Oslo Marine Group”, a group of companies established in 2001 in Saint-Petersburg. Mr. ARKHANGELSKY is one of the most renowned experts in the fields of reinsurance, ports and shipping, in both Russia and across Northern Europe.
Mr. ARKHANGELSKY’s group specialised in insurance/reinsurance, ports and shipping.
Following the financial crisis of 2008, the Bank of Saint-Petersburg took predatory action, fraudulently despoiling assets of the group with the assistance of the authorities, and notably with help from the ex-governor of St Petersburg, Mrs. Valentina MATVIENKA, whose son is the principal shareholder of the bank.
Mr. ARKHANGELSKY tried to defend and protect his companies, and in doing so, he and his family were subject to both physical threats and a series of criminal prosecutions and “raids”, illustrating clearly a phenomenon denounced by the Council of Europe as “the abusive use of the legal system for economic ends”.
From 2010 onwards, those behind the attacks on Mr. ARKHANGELSKY’s assets and companies attempted to manipulate the French judicial system, exerting pressure on him and on his wife and three children: they notably tried to enforce in France judgments procured by completely fraudulent means in Russia. In November 2010 the Russian authorities, working notably under the influence of the Bank of Saint-Petersburg, sought the extradition of Mr. ARKHANGELSKY founded on a case that was in reality a set-up.
After his arrest in autumn 2010, Mr. ARKHANGELSKY had to be quickly released.
On 10 November 2011, the first instance chamber of the Court of Appeal of Aix-en-Provence delivered its judgment against the request for Mr. ARKHANGELSKY’s extradition, making this now impossible. The Court confirmed the principal arguments submitted by Mr. ARKHANGELSKY’s lawyers in stating that:
- there were serious doubts with regards to the fairness of the criminal trial brought against him, and with regards to the fundamental guarantees and rights of defence that he should be entitled to;
- the proceedings in place under the Federation of Russia were vague, incomplete, and lacked credibility;
- his extradition would disproportionately infringe upon his right to the respect for private and family life;
- there was a possibility that could not be ruled out that he would be subject to inhuman or degrading treatment if his extradition took place.
Mr. ARKHANGELSKY’s lawyers add that they have seised the Special Rapporteur of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, and they intend to file a complaint for the use of forgery and the offence of attempted fraud regarding documents submitted to the French judicial authorities in an unsuccessful attempt to obtain the extradition of their client.
Furthermore, regarding the complaint for use of forgery and fraud of a judgment brought before the examining magistrate of the First Instance Court of Nice, Mr. ARKHANGELSKY’s lawyers have requested the examination of a number of witnesses in order to establish criminal liabilities, meaning those of various administrators and shareholders of the Bank of Saint-Petersburg, as well as various officials of the Russian Federation.
They warn the French authorities that there is a risk that the Russian Federation, with its determined attitude, will file a new request for extradition, just as nonsensical and incongruous as the previous one.
They also intend to request the Minister of Justice and the General Prosecutor of the Court of Appeal of Aix to investigate any potential new request with the utmost vigilance and, to not in any case arrest Mr. ARKHANGELSKY a second time.
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