Ukrainian law

Legal news in Ukraine: Laws on jurisdiction of Anti-Corruption Court, reform of prosecutor's office, impeachment of president and decriminalization of fictitious business come into force

29.09.2019 / 12:25
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Legal news in Ukraine: Laws on jurisdiction of Anti-Corruption Court, reform of prosecutor's office, impeachment of president and decriminalization of fictitious business come into force

The Law on Jurisdiction of the High Anti-Corruption Court сome into Force

On September 22, 2019, the Law of Ukraine «On Amending the Law of Ukraine» On Supreme Anti-Corruption Court» (on the beginning of the court)».

From now on, those criminal proceedings regarding corruption offenses that were included in the Unified Register of Pre-trial Investigations beginning on September 5, 2019 are referred to the jurisdiction of the Supreme Anti-Corruption Court.

The Anti-Corruption Court jurisdiction also extends to criminal proceedings in which a pre-trial investigation was carried out by the National Anti-Corruption Bureau and completed by prosecutors of the Specialized Anti-Corruption Prosecutor’s Office, regardless of the date the information was entered in the Unified Register.

The other criteria for determining the jurisdiction of the High Anti-Corruption Court remained unchanged. In particular, the jurisdiction of the court includes 22 criminal offenses under Articles 191, 2062, 209, 210, 211, 262, 308, 312, 313, 320, 354, 357, 364, 3641, 3652, 3661, 368-3692 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine .

To do this, at least one of the following conditions must be met:

- the commission of these crimes by a special subject (People’s Deputy of Ukraine, Prime Minister of Ukraine, member of the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine, Chairman of the State Property Fund of Ukraine or his deputies, Chairman of the National Bank of Ukraine or his deputies, public servant of category «A», deputy of the regional council, judge, the prosecutor, the head of a large business, in whose authorized capital the share of state or communal property exceeds 50 percent, etc.);

- the size of the subject of the crime or the harm caused by it exceeds five hundred times or more the size of the living wage for able-bodied persons established by law at the time the crime was committed (for example, as of January 1, 2019, this is 960,500 UAH)

- the offense provided for in Article 369, part one of Article 3692 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine, namely the granting of undue gain or abuse of influence, has been committed in respect of the above officials.

Changes to the laws governing the work of the prosecutor’s office came into force

On September 25, 2019, the Law of Ukraine «On Amending Certain Legislative Acts of Ukraine Regarding Priority Measures for the Reform of the Prosecution Authorities» came into force.

The Law provides for the reform of the prosecution authorities.

According to the Law, all prosecutors and investigators of prosecuting authorities who want to work under the new rules will have to undergo certification.

It is planned that the prosecutors of the Prosecutor General’s Office of Ukraine will be the first to be certified, the second and third stage of certification will concern prosecutors of regional and local prosecutors. The certification process should be completed by September 1, 2020.

Certification of current prosecutors will be held on the basis of the «Regulations on the passage of prosecutors certification», «Regulations on the personnel commissions of the Office of the General Prosecutor, regional prosecutors», which will be published on the website of the Prosecutor General of Ukraine.

From September 27 to October 10 employees of the Prosecutor General of Ukraine can file applications for transfer to new bodies and their intention to undergo certification.

It is assumed that certification will consist of three stages: testing for knowledge of the law, testing for general abilities and an interview.

President’s Impeachment Law Enters into Force

On September 25, 2019, the Law of Ukraine «On a special procedure for removing the President of Ukraine from office (impeachment)» entered into force.

According to the law, the impeachment procedure can be initiated by the majority of people’s deputies of Ukraine from the constitutional composition of the Verkhovna Rada, that is, a minimum of 226 people's deputies. For this, a corresponding resolution is introduced, which the deputies must support with the same number of votes.

A special temporary investigation commission will be formed for investigation. It will include the people’s deputies of Ukraine (proportionally from deputy fractions and groups), a special prosecutor and special investigators. The Commission will prepare conclusions and proposals on the circumstances of the investigation by the President of Ukraine of high treason or other crime.

The plenary meeting of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine, at which these conclusions and proposals will be considered, will be open.

Verkhovna Rada must decide on the accusation of the President of Ukraine (the support of at least two-thirds of the deputies is required). If the parliament approves it, the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine decides to appeal to the Constitutional Court of Ukraine (to obtain an opinion on compliance with the constitutional procedure) and the Supreme Court (to obtain an opinion that the acts of which the President of Ukraine is charged contain signs of treason or other crime). The majority of deputies from the constitutional composition of the Verkhovna Rada should vote for the decision.

A decision on impeachment will be taken only if the findings of the Constitutional Court of Ukraine and the Supreme Court show compliance with the requirements of the Constitution and laws of Ukraine. The corresponding decision will be considered adopted if at least three-fourths of the people's deputies (338 deputies) from the constitutional composition of the Verkhovna Rada vote for it.

In case of «failure» of the impeachment procedure, the presiding judge on behalf of the parliament will apologize to the President of Ukraine.

Fictitious entrepreneurship is decriminalized in Ukraine

On September 25, 2019, the Law of Ukraine «On Amending the Criminal Code of Ukraine and the Code of Criminal Procedure of Ukraine regarding the reduction of pressure on business», adopted by the Verkhovna Rada on September 18, entered into force.

The law excludes article 205 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine, which criminalizes the creation or acquisition of business entities (legal entities) in order to cover illegal activities or to carry out activities in respect of which there is a ban.

Previously, fictitious business was punishable by a fine of 30,000 to 60,000 tax-free minimum incomes of citizens (from 510 thousand to 1,2 million UAH), or by arrest for up to 6 months or restriction of liberty for up to 2 years. For repeated violation, the fine could grow to 1,7 million UAH.

Fines for intentional tax evasion are increasing: from 1-2 thousand to 3-5 thousand non-taxable minimum incomes of citizens.

The authors of the law note that the law will positively affect the business climate in the country, because criminal proceedings are usually used as a means of pressure on the business, in particular in the context of tax audits.

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