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The Law Society has stepped in to defend a solicitor’s human rights after the Russian government publicly accused him of embezzlement.
Senior partner of Wiggin Osborne Fullerlove, Tim Osborne was accused of the crime along with misappropriation of assets or funds and money laundering in August 2006 under Articles 160 and 174 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation.
The claim was announced on the website of the Prosecutor General’s Office but no formal notice has been given to Osborne, who has still received no official communication from the Russian government despite repeated requests.
Osborne has offered to be interviewed in the UK by the Prosecutor’s office and to respond to any allegations in person.
In a letter to Yuri Chaika, Prosecutor General of the Russian Federation, the Law Society has urged the Russian government to withdraw the allegations and to remove the reference to Osborne from the website of the Prosecutor General's Office.
Law Society president Fiona Woolf said that she was "deeply concerned" that the conduct of the investigation contravened the Russian Federation’s international legal obligations, the European Convention on Human Rights and the articles in Russia’s own constitution dealing with access to justice and due process.
Woolf added: “In order to allow Mr Osborne to carry out his legitimate professional duties without impediment, intimidation or harassment this matter needs to be dealt with immediately.”