On 28 September, a roundtable event organized by Fulvio Martusciello, Chairman of the Delegation for EU-Israel relations, was held at the European Parliament in Brussels. The conference titled Justice and the rule of law in the EU – the case of Vladimir Kokorev was attended by MEPs of different committees, lawyers, experts and journalists representing media of Spain, Belgium, Great Britain, Israel and other countries.
The case has received extensive attention from European media and its key points are the following: Vladimir Kokorev (66 y.o.), a Spanish citizen of Russian and Jewish origin; his wife Yulia (68 y.o.) and their son Igor, who have been kept at a Las Palmas prison (Canary Islands, Spain) for two years now.
They were detained in Panama in autumn 2015, based on an international warrant issued by Ana Isabel de Vega Serrano of Las Palmas Court No 5, on suspicion of having laundered money on behalf of Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, the President of Equatorial Guinea.
During the classified investigation however, no proof of Kokorevs’ guilt has been found or presented, which was discovered by the defense who were given access to the case file after it had been declassified in February 2017.
The declassification occurred after Georgios Epitideios and Jean-Luc Shaffhauser, members of the European Parliament, filed an official letter to Consejo General del Poder Judicial with the request to clarify the situation around Vladimir Kokorev’s case.
Alvaro Campanario, a Kokorev family attorney at law, believes the case may have a political bias or be orchestrated by someone due to the fact that Judge Ana Isabel de Vega Serrano persists in blenching the proof of innocence provided by the defense.
During the roundtable event in the European Parliament in Brussels, the speakers emphasized that the defense provided the investigative bodies with all possible documents that prove complete transparency of Kokorev’s companies. However, and despite this, Judge Vega Serrano recently extended their detention on remand for 2 more years instead of terminating the case or releasing them on bail.
The reasons for Ana Isabel de Vega Serrano’s persistence to indict them for tax dodging and other offenses remains unclear and especially after failure to provide any evidence to support the allegations. The Kokorevs were extradited from Panama initially to Spain as they were suspected of money laundering but now they are charged with entirely different crimes.
“We in no way want to condemn the entire judicial system of Spain. Spain is a rule-of-law state with an established system of justice, acting within the framework of European values. And the disregard for the rule of law that we have found out can inflict harm to the Spanish and European justice in total. So we intend to seek the unbiased investigation of the Kokorev case and we believe that the transfer of the case from Las Palmas to Madrid would become the first step in this regard,” said MEP Georgios.
“2 years in pre-trail 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 also be imprisoned without charge for no good reason is totally unacceptable. It is a fundamental right for a citizen to be able to answer the charges against him and defend himself in a court of law. I will be taking a special interest in the case and propose to raise it as a question on the floor of the chamber of the European Parliament, calling for an independent investigation”, added MEP Martusciello.