The production of false excise stamps will equate to counterfeiting

The production of false excise stamps will equate to counterfeiting

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The bill aims to eliminate the shadow market of alcohol

Photo: TASS/Valery sharifulin

The senators have drafted a bill that would raise the alcohol market out of the shadows. To the criminal and Criminal procedural codes is scheduled to enter individual articles for illegal production and trafficking of “gray” alcohol, as well as for the manufacture, sale and use of counterfeit excise stamps. The authors of the bill consider it necessary to substantially increase the penalties for production and trafficking of illegal alcohol and to establish the responsibility of individuals for their marketing. Change penalties for manufacture, sale, use of forged excise stamps, which penalty amount will be equal to the forgery of banknotes — the penalty can be up to 6 million rubles, and the maximum imprisonment is seven years. In particular, amendments are made to article 327.1. The criminal code (“Manufacture, sale of counterfeit excise stamps, special stamps or marks of conformity or their use”) and articles 31, 150, 151.1 of the criminal procedure code and the criminal code will be supplemented by articles 171.3 (“Illegal production and (or) turnover of ethyl alcohol, alcoholic and alcohol-containing products”) and 171.4 (“Illegal sale of alcoholic and alcohol-containing products”).

In the Federation Council explained that the bill (text is at the disposal of “Izvestia”) will attract additional incomes in the budget of about 180 billion (from excise duty and value added tax with products that would be legal). Experts, in turn, believe that the implementation of the law will require the extension staff of the Ministry of interior or the creation of special departments for control in this area and identifying those offenses or rigid order for the “official figures” (the planning of the number of reported crimes).

The bill, Deputy Chairman of the Federation Council Eugene bushmina and Chairman of the Committee on budget and financial markets Sergey ryabukhina in the near future will be sent for opinion to the Ministry of justice and the Supreme court (SC), and then on review in the government. In the state Duma it will be in November.

According to Sergei Ryabukhin, only in the first half of 2016 seized more than 7 million in counterfeit tax stamps — increase of crimes of this nature amounted to 11%. Meanwhile, according to Ministry of health annually from surrogate alcohol kills almost 40 thousand people.

The authors of the bill propose to amend the article 327.1 of the criminal code a new 5th and 6th installments, which establishes additional aggravating circumstances acts provided for in parts 3 and 4 of this article.

The initiators of the bill believe that the second reading in the state Duma a term of imprisonment and the fine can be increased significantly. Now the fines range from 300 thousand to 1 million rubles and deprivation of liberty from one to six years for an organized group of persons.

— These amendments will mainly affect the illegal production and sales of fake brands, which we equate with the forgery of banknotes, therefore, the penalty increases to 6 million rubles, in some cases, when it involved organized criminal group, the penalty of deprivation of liberty for a term not less than seven years. We expect that similar measures will allow to move away from impunity, which is now causing enormous damage to the economy of the country. You can imagine, we have 25 billion this year directed at the modernization of schools, and here 150-180 billion per year loses the state budget. We understand that making a call to the crime, but someone has to do it. As soon as will be obtained of the Commission’s findings and the government, we will submit the bill to the state Duma, I hope that it will be in November — said “Izvestia” Sergei riabukhin.

The Senator also added that in SF are going the same complex measures to take for the next year and the excise taxes on tobacco. In it we are talking about much larger amounts, according to him, they are 415-450 billion.

In the explanatory note to the bill States that only the 2012-2015 25% reduction in the number of licensed outlets for alcohol (from 305 thousand to 230 thousand). The volume of grey market is 50-70% of the total sold of spirits.

Currently in underground production of alcohol, if this act caused large damage to citizens, organisations or the state, criminal liability under article 171 of the criminal code with penalties of a fine of up to 300 thousand rubles or arrest for up to six months.

The parliamentarians also decided to Supplement the criminal code article 171.3 “Illegal production and (or) turnover of ethyl alcohol, alcoholic and alcohol-containing products”. As punishment, you have the following options: a fine of 2 million to 3 million rubles, or deprivation of liberty for a term up to three years. For illegal production and trafficking of illegal alcohol “in especially large size” or when committed by an organized group offered a fine of 3 million to 4 million rubles or imprisonment for up to five years or forced labor.

Large size is proposed to consider the cost of ethyl alcohol, alcoholic and alcohol-containing products, the production or circulation of which is unlicensed and exceed 300 thousand rubles, and particularly large — 1 million rubles.

The bill also proposes to introduce in article 171.4 of the criminal code “Illegal sale of alcoholic and alcohol-containing products”. The article is supposed only in case if the physical person the offence was committed repeatedly. The punishment shall be a fine from 50 thousand to 80 thousand rubles or up to a year of correctional labor. If the sale of unlicensed alcohol will be engaged businessman (without formation of legal entity), fines range from 100 thousand to 300 thousand roubles or imprisonment for the term up to two years.

In the expert community believe that the implementation of the bill will need to increase the number of law enforcement agencies that will be involved in identifying fake products.

— To get around the system yegais will be difficult, she started to work. In this system, to sell alcohol with fake excise stamps will also be extremely difficult. Modern excise stamp only confirms that alcohol produced legally, this second level of protection in contrast to tobacco products. May be able to identify the criminal dealers. You need to understand that a number of sellers if they will threaten a considerable period of time and a big fine, get scared and abandon this business, perhaps it will help to clean up this market. But it is imperative that under this statutory provision were undertaken a set of measures concerning the increase in staffing levels or the creation of special departments or mystery shoppers, says the Executive Director of consulting company Heads Nikita Kulikov.

Representatives of legal practitioners believe that in making law we need to encourage law enforcement system, which should be interested in a large number of such cases.

Responsibility does not stop this kind of entrepreneurs. The question is how to work the law enforcement agencies to search and identify the manufacturers of illegal products. If MIA will be of interest to a large number of such cases, it is likely that in the “system service performance” (when in the month the law-enforcers plan to identify a certain number of crimes in a certain area) this will do the trick. And the market of illegal alcohol and counterfeit tax stamps will begin to decline. It is no secret that fake alcohol products are often responsible for market players, in the first change they let the legal alcohol, and the second is illegal. Small plants, of course, closed, but with a big I don’t see that much fought — explained “Izvestia” lawyer, candidate of legal Sciences, lecturer at Ranepa, expert in the field of law, Andrei Nekrasov.

Statistics show that each year an increasing number of crimes related to the trade of illegal alcohol. If in 2014 the number of such crimes was 147 16, 2015 — 19 010. As the mushrooms grow underground shop: in 2013, revealed 141, in 2015-m — 175. Illegal alcohol market brings in annually more than 100 billion rubles of income to the participants. Existing standards in the law are too soft and do not have the desired effect on offenders, therefore, according to the authors of the bill, it is necessary to increase the level of responsibility, by making changes in the criminal code, the document says.