BGP Litigation attorney Georgy Baganov speaks with RBC about the introduction of criminal liability for failure to pay insurance contributions

"Provided the amendments are not used exclusively as a punitive measure, this could indeed improve the situation surrounding insurance contributions, says Georgy Baganov, an attorney at BGP Litigation. But if the amendments represent a shift towards an approach that could be described as "let's open a criminal case first and see what happens", they could be an additional instrument for applying undue pressure on business, he warns".

Expanding on his earlier comments, Georgy Baganov says it is important that the new development isn't used for intimidation. The draft law should envisage the possibility of "reversal", i.e., conditions under which the criminal penalties are cancelled, even after a criminal case has been opened – if the arrears are settled, for example.

According to Georgy Baganov, it makes sense to compare the penalties envisaged for infringing the draft law with those for other economic crimes resulting in money not going to the public purse. In terms of charges for arrears of legal entities, most cases are based on the articles Tax Evasion (Art. 199 of the RF Criminal Code) and Non-payment of Salary (Art. 145.1 RF Criminal Code), or for parties involved in foreign economic activity – Art. 194, Evasion of Customs Duty (or the corresponding administrative statute, if the amount evaded is not high enough to constitute a criminal offence), says the BGP Litigation attorney.

The full article (in Russian) is available here: "Власти собрались ввести уголовную ответственность за неуплату соцвзносов".