President Viktor Yanukovych has decided to soften criminal responsibility for economic crimes. The draft bill on amendments to some legislative laws of Ukraine, prepared by the Administration of President provides for commutation of the imprisonment to fine.

In particular, the matter concerns smuggling, fictitious bankruptcy, swindling and fraud. The fine will be determined by court depending on offense severity, but within the limits from 30 to 50 thousand tax free minimal wages (510 UAH- 850 ths UAH - ed.).

Presidential advisor Andriy Portnov presented the document to journalists, saying that all kinds of punishment for economic crime will be replaced with financial sanctions. "If an article of the Criminal Code provides for imprisonment, it will be replaced with fine," he said.

The advisor also announced that "everybody sentenced for economic crimes will be set free." "Those imprisoned will have to pay fine and they can go," Portnov said.

The head of the shadow government Serhiy Sobole (BYuT) told the press that the opposition would support the draft bill in its first reading. "I support the idea to decriminalize the economic crimes and free the people, third of whom were detained illegally, I am sure. But it would be even better to decriminalize the so called political article of the Criminal Code (abuse of power - ed.)," Sobolev said.

He underlined that the opposition would support the bill in any case, and then the parliament will improve it.

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