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Not Under the Saddle, but in the Saddle: the Case Against YouControl Is Officially Closed

20 March 2019

The National Police of the capital closed the case against YouControl because of “the absence of a criminal offense”.

Finally it happened! At the end of February the National Police put an end to the two-year story of the struggle of the company YouControl for its rights to work in the market of open data. The agency, which in autumn received the case from the Security Service of Ukraine (SSU), closed it. In the decision of the National Police of February 28, 2019, it is said, in particular, that:

“To close criminal proceedings recorded in the Unified Register of Pre-Trial Investigations under № 22016000000000281 of July 25, 2016 on the grounds of criminal offenses, provided for in Part 2 of Art. 361, part 2 of Art. 359 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine, in connection with the absence of a criminal offense”.

Let us remind you that the SSU officially launched the investigation into YouControl in July 2016. The company was actually accused of the illegal sale of special technical means, the surreptitious obtaining of information upon a preliminary collusion by a group of persons in the interests of the intelligence agencies of the Russian Federation and then of the unauthorized interference with the work of open state registers. On March 23, 2017 security officers raided the office of the company and some employees’ and their relatives’ houses. They seized documents, equipment, and even withdrew personal savings.

And this was just the beginning, as in January 2018 Sergi Milman, the head of the company, was served with charges within the criminal case against the company, the pre-trial restriction in the form of a pledge was imposed on him. Due to the active protection of lawyers and publicity, law enforcement officers could not further fabricate evidence against Sergi Milman, and in the end the Prosecutor General’s Office of Ukraine closed the proceedings against him already in February. However the case which concerned the activity of the whole company continued to be investigated. In July 2018 the court set the two-month deadline for the pre-trial investigation. Literally a week before the expiration of this term the SSU passed the case to the police, which, not limited by this deadline, continued the investigation. After a few months of working on it, the investigator of the Dniprovske Police Department in the city of Kyiv made a decision on its complete closing.

“Such a result is a long and difficult work of both lawyers and the PR-department of the company. The media attention to the problem also played a significant role in the positive completion of the process. The involvement of the public and even individual parliamentarians, their participation in court hearings and public support also helped. In addition, the Business Ombudsman Council actively helped us assert our rights throughout the entire process till its completion. All this together “put the squeeze” on the Main Investigation Department of the SSU, resulting in the fact that the pre-trial investigation was entrusted to the National Police. In its turn the National Police, having thoroughly analyzed the materials received, did not find any evidence of a criminal offence, and because of that it closed the criminal proceedings. This once again proved that the investigation into YouControl had been artificial and groundless from the beginning,” the Deputy Director of YouControl on Legal Issues, a lawyer Danylo Hloba, explained.

"“The victory for which we had been fighting for two years allowed us to achieve several goals at once. Firstly, we have protected our reputation. We have been supported by society, which means that we have common values ​​with many conscious people and we are ready to defend these values together. Secondly, we have protected the idea of ​​openness of data that can help solve many important issues in our country. Thirdly, we have proved that the regulatory framework in the field of open data works, and the courts can follow the letter of the law, especially if the process becomes public. And fourthly, on our example we have demonstrated that business can defend itself within the legal framework from the law enforcement officers-marauders, not compromise with them and not bribe them", the founder and CEO of YouControl Sergi Milman assured.

According to Sergi Milman, the path to the victory also rallied many people involved in the struggle of the company for open data and honest business.

YouControl is grateful to everybody for the support!