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Parliament passes bill to shield business from police pressure

The legislation extends the rights of entrepreneurs.

The Ukrainian parliament on Thursday, 16 November, adopted a bill on counteraction to unreasonable pressure by law-enforcement agencies on Ukrainian enterprises.

The government-sponsored bill was supported by 312 MPs.

Under the law, the evidence collected during searches which were not technically registered or held in the absence of a defence lawyer is considered unacceptable and invalid.

In addition, the bill demands that searches be recorded on audio and video. It prohibits law enforcers from seizing the original copies of financial and economic documents, computer equipment, servers and mobile phones of business entities.

Also, it is prohibited to re-initiate criminal proceedings that have been closed. The law sets a reasonable time for investigation of criminal cases. In particular, persons whose rights have been infringed may appeal the inaction of the investigator and demand a reasonable time framework for the investigation.

Business representatives can request the confirmation of the registration of a criminal case.

The bill introduces a mechanism of auditing law-enforcement agencies investigating economic crimes and enhances law enforcers' responsibility for unlawful acts.