In early September representatives of business associations met with the Prosecutor General due to the fact that cases of pressure from law enforcement officers on business have become more frequent. They actively summon the directors of enterprises for interrogation, conduct searches, and take part in raids. Although the management of the Office of the Attorney General officially condemns such actions, in practice it is different and business feels good.
In this article we will give tips on how to properly prepare for the interview to pass it with the least risk to yourself and your business.
What business attracts the attention of law enforcement officers?
If you are engaged in business activities and also meet one of the criteria: 1) interact with contractors involved in criminal proceedings; 2) take part in public procurement; 3) were the contractor of the company that won the tender; 4) received loans from the state, then all this creates risks of getting in the field of view of law enforcement officers and obtaining an interrogation summons. Investigators usually question the director, the accountant, and sometimes other employees.
If you need advice or professional protection in a case of corruption administrative offense, contact us for help
What does an interrogation summons mean?
Neither the investigator nor the prosecutor has the right to seize the accounts on their own. To do this, they go to court. Accordingly, the arrest can be lifted only in court.
❗ There is an active criminal proceeding, which includes your company. These companies could appear at the investigator after a search of the contractor, from the tax office, as a result of interrogation of a witness, etc.
❗ There are risks for the company to search and seize accounts.
How to summon for questioning?
By phone, summons home or work, and more recently - also dump summonses in messengers. We wrote about it in more detail in the material “Is it legal to summon an interrogation in mobile applications? “
Call for questioning - the easiest way for an investigator to extract information. This does not indicate a suspicion about your company, but if the investigator receives the necessary information, it can have negative consequences for your business or the activities of contractors. Therefore, we will give some simple and effective tips on how to behave during the interrogation 👉
✅ 1. Involve a lawyer . The basic rule is to never go to the interrogation yourself. The presence of a lawyer will deter the investigator from abuse. The lawyer will also prepare you for questioning and will take communication with the investigator, so you will not have to do the next point on your own.
✅ 2. Gather information. Find the investigator's number in the summons (it is exactly there). During the conversation, find out from the investigator why you are being summoned, on what fact the criminal proceedings are underway, what actions the investigator plans to take with your participation.
If you have been sent a summons by mail or messenger, some information may be publicly available. Copy and Google the criminal case number. Information on your case can be published in the register of court decisions, and this will allow you to understand the essence of the case and better prepare for questioning. You can also enter the procedure number on the website Register of court decisions or Youcontrol.
This way you will be able to find out why the investigators opened a criminal case, who are the potential suspects in the case, what investigative actions they conducted. An example below.
As you can see, such information at this stage is already very valuable, as it allows you to prepare for potential questions of the investigator on a particular situation.
✅ 3. Prepare for questioning. The investigator can summon you for questioning no earlier than 3 days before the scheduled date of the interrogation, so you will have plenty of time to prepare. Simulate the investigator's questions, if there are weaknesses in your position, find the right arguments to explain them.
✅ 4. Do not say too much. Give short answers to the investigator's questions that you are sure of. If you don't know or don't remember something, say so. But answers need to be given, because refusing to testify also carries risks. Prior to the interrogation, the investigator warns of criminal liability for refusing to testify, with the exception of testimony against relatives.
✅ 5.Check the provided readings. Ask for a printout of the impressions before signing the report. Carefully read the content of the impressions, make adjustments if necessary and sign under the impressions on each page of the protocol. Cross out the free columns to avoid posts.
Following these simple tips will facilitate proper communication with law enforcement, as well as allow you to be questioned with minimal risk to yourself and your business.