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03.08.2012

Criminal investigation against LB.ua terminated

   

The Kyiv Prosecutor’s Office has closed the criminal investigation initiated over alleged infringement of MP Volodymyr Landik’s confidentiality of correspondence. 

The Prosecutor’s Office says that the case was terminated because of the inconsistent position of the claimant who has on a number of occasions made conflicting statements to the press. The decision also mentions that the infringement of the law by the Internet publication in this specific case did not cause significant damage.

The decision was taken as the result of a check carried out at the instruction of President Yanukovych the Prosecutor General. 

This followed strong statements of concern from within Ukraine and abroad, especially since news that a criminal investigation had been initiated against LB.ua came shortly after the tax police initiated criminal proceedings against the Director of TVi, Mykola Knyazhytsky.  Both TVi and LB.ua are known for their critical stance and hard-hitting journalist investigations.

As reported, on 18 July a Kyiv district prosecutor initiated a criminal investigation over alleged disclosure by LB.ua of text messages between Landik and his son who was then on remand on charges of beating up a young woman who refused his advances in early July 2011.  Roman Landik fled to Russia after video footage of the assault was posted on the Internet and aroused outrage.  With public anger at a peak, Landik Junior was extradited back to Ukraine.  When the case finally reached the court, he was given a fairly short suspended sentence

Six months later, his father set about getting criminal proceedings initiated against the Editor LB.ua - Sonya Koshkina [formally Ksenya Vasylenko]; Main Editor Oleh Bazar and photographer Maxim Levin

Landik Senior  approached the Pechersky District Prosecutor demanding that a criminal investigation be initiated under Article 163 of the Criminal Code (breaching privacy of correspondence with respect to state or public figures). His application referred to a publication from 18 November 2011 entitled “Landik Senior saves his son through the use of technical people and “correct” commentary on websites”. On 18 November during the parliamentary vote on the parliamentary elections bill, LB.ua photographed Party of the Regions MP Volodymyr Landik texting his son in custody LB.ua said that from the content of the SMS it was clear that in order to optimize his son’s image, Landik Senior was engaging political technologists as well as journalists from the Luhansk TV company to write positive comments in the news and texts about the Landik Junior trial. 

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