THE EU has been urged to intervene in the case of a Spanish national and his son who have been held without charge for TWO years.
Vladimir Kokorev 63, and his son Igor have been imprisoned on the Canary Islands without charge for 24 months over money laundering allegations.
Kokorev’s wife Yulia, 68, was released on bail on similar charges on September 27. They have all strenuously denied any wrongdoing.
Lawyers and MEPs championing their case have now appealed to the EU to intervene in what they described as a ‘blatant contravention’ of human rights laws.
A call for an investigation has been spearheaded by Italian MEP Fulvio Martusciello, who told reporters the case gave ’cause for real concern.’
The MEP also said there were undertones of ‘anti-Semitism’ and ‘xenophobia’ as Kokorev is of Russian-Jewish origin,
Entrepreneur Kokorev was arrested in Panama where he lived in September 2015, along with his wife and 35-year-old son in connection with an alleged money laundering scheme on behalf of the President of Equatorial Guinea.
They were extradited to Spain where they were jailed on the orders of Spanish investigative judge Ana Isabel de Vega Serrano.
They have remained in pre-trial detention for two years without formal charges being laid or a date set for their trial.
In August, the same judge ordered that their imprisonment continue for another two years, citing ‘complexities’ of the case and the ongoing investigation.
All three deny any wrongdoing with Kokorev insisting that his business dealings with Equatorial Guinea are legal and legitimate.
Spanish lawyer Alvaro Campanero accused the judge of an ‘unprecedented abuse of power’ and pointed out that the original charges had been altered without reason from money laundering to gaining from the proceeds of illegal weapon trafficking.
Another member of Kokorev’s legal team, Antonio Cabrera, told Brussels-based journalists that the case highlighted ‘serious shortcomings’ in the Spanish legal system.
He said it was ‘beholden’ on the EU to intervene.
He also pointed out that Spain had recently adopted new legislation which stated that no-one should be held more than two years in custody without being charged or brought to trial.
Cabrera said: “There have been serious contraventions of European legal standards in this case and the EU needs to be made aware of this.
“That is why we have come to the European parliament to ask MEPs and others to ask what is going on with this case.”
He said that in the first instance the EU should press Spanish appeal judges to move the case from Las Palmas where the two men are currently held to a ‘correct court’ in Madrid where, he said, the Kokorev family might expect to receive ‘fairer treatment.’
Up to 60 documents in the possession of Kokorev’s legal team ‘clearly demonstrate’ that he was innocent of any illegal activity, it was said.
MEP Martusciello, who hosted a news conference on the case last week, said: “It is not for us to decide if Mr Kokorev is guilty or innocent of the charges against him, that is for a court to decide.
But what should concern us all is the fact that he, his wife and son are being denied justice and due process of law.
“Two years in detention without specific charges with the prospect of a further two years for no good reason is an affront to all that we Europeans believe in. For his wife and son to be also imprisoned without charge for no good reason is totally unacceptable.”
On September 27, the High Court of Las Palmas overruled a decision to keep Yulia Kokorev in jail for another two years and decreased the bond required for Vladimir Kokorev’s release from €2 million to €600,000. No judgement has been issued yet in regards to his son, Igor.