The Prosecutor's Office completed considering the case on the attack on the journalists of the TV program Schemes program on October 4 at the premises of the state-owned Ukreximbank and remanded it to the court, but without adding audio and video recordings of the incident. According to Anatoliy Popov, the lawyer of the attack victims, this is "key evidence."
"This poses a real threat to the possibility of proving the guilt of those accused of a committed offense," Popov states.
He also stresses that during the pre-trial investigation on the indictment, the article concerning the illegal detention of the Schemes team in the premises of the financial institution was removed. It provides for punishment in the form of restriction of freedom or imprisonment for up to 3 years.
"As we have learned, the case investigation under Article 146 on the illegal detention of journalists in the bank's premises was closed. And only this article is considered a criminal offense. The other two articles, according to which the case was sent to court, are criminal offenses, and according tothem the investigation procedure is simplified and the liability is much less. We will appeal the decision to close the case in part of Article 146," Popov adds.
Additionally. On the eve of the Prosecutor's Office of Kyiv reported that it had sent an indictment against 4 people suspected of obstructing the work of the journalists of the TV program Schemes to the court.
The actions of the now former Governor of the bank Yevhen Metzger and his Press Secretary are treated under Part 1, 3 of Art. 171 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine (illegal seizure of materials collected by journalists and technical means that they use for their professional activities, influence in any form on journalists in order to prevent them from performing their professional duties, committed by officials using their official position).
The actions of Ihor Telbizov, the Head of the bank Security Department, and Volodymyr Pikalov, the head of the Department of Internal Security, Civil Protection and Bank Security, were treated under the same Article 171, as well as under Part 1 of Art. 126 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine (deliberate commission of violent acts that caused physical pain and did not entail bodily harm).
Context. On October 4, during an interview with Ukreximbank Chairman of the Board Yevhen Metzger, the Schemes journalist asked him about a large foreign currency loan secured by a distressed asset that the bank had granted to a businessman whose company paid taxes to the DPR group. Metzger tried to interrupt the interview and ordered the guards to "take the cameras" from the journalists and "remove the tapes from them."
By Yevhen Metzger's order, the bank's employees used physical force against the Schemes operator, took away two cameras and cards the recording was made on, and deleted the recorded video. The journalist managed to record the incident on audio.
The journalists appealed to the law enforcement agencies, and after that the National Police started criminal proceedings. The bank denied the attack, but the Schemes subsequently recovered the deleted video and released it to the public.
Metzger later apologized to the reporters and called his actions unacceptable. On October 11, Metzger wrote a letter of resignation that was approved by the Supervisory Board of Ukreximbank on the same day.