Vademecum learned about the satisfaction of the General Prosecutor’s Office appeal from Konstantin Svitnev, head of Rosyurconsulting company, which provides legal support to gestational surrogacy programs. He goes as another defendant in this case and, being out of Russia, has been arrested in absentia. The information about the court decision has been verified by Yulia Lakhova, the advocate of the accused.
In total, there are 10 defendants in this case: Rosyurconsulting CEO and employees, medical doctors and two surrogate mothers. Three staff members of Svitnev’s company – office manager Valentina Chernyshova, lawyer Roman Emashev and interpreter Kirill Anisimov – are in SIZO since July 2020. The judgement on preventive confinement elongation for them had to be determined on August 5, 2021, but the trial was postponed till August 10. One of the gestational surrogates is presently under house arrest, another one, a citizen of Ukraine, has been arrested in absentia.
All the defendants are accused of 11 episodes of purchase and sale of minors and their transportation across the state border of Russia, with the use of forged documents, acting as a part of an organized group (part 3, article 127.1 of the Criminal Code of Russia), and also of attempted crime of the same kind (p. 3 art. 30, p. 3 art. 127.1 of the Criminal Code of Russia). Article 127.1 prescribes a penalty of up to 15 years of imprisonment.
The proceedings on the criminal case were instituted in Moscow in January 2020 after death of a baby born for a Philippine couple in a gestational surrogacy program. According to Konstantin Svitnev, the child was sick. Three more babies in the same apartment were waiting for their biological families to meet them, now withdrawn by the investigation officers and placed in Vidnovo special orphanage for children with organic mental disorders.
The investigators’ version assumes that donor oocytes and sperm from an «unascertained person» were used for in vitro fertilization. Worth noting that Svitnev, as well as the children’s parents, demanded of the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation to perform a genetic expertise that would ascertain the relationship between the babies born from the gestational surrogates, and the customers of the medical service. Whether such an expertise was accomplished by the investigation, is unclear.
On August 10, First Court of General Apellate Jurisdiction upheld the decision of Moscow City Court to leave lawyer Roman Emashev, interpreter Kirill Anisimov and courier Valentina Chernyshova in detention. These Rosyurconsulting employees are kept in remand confinement since July 14, 2020, and by this decision will stay in SIZO till October 14, 2021, Konstantin Svitnev told Vademecum.