Yevroset's former deputy head Boris Levin pleaded guilty to vigilantism charges Monday at the opening of the trial of nine ex-Yevroset employees accused of kidnapping a former employee who purportedly stole a shipment of cell phones from the retail chain in 2008.
But Levin and the eight other defendants denied the more serious kidnapping and robbery charges in the Moscow City Court.
Levin said he was forced to act “because of the nonfeasance of the law enforcement agencies, which do not protect the interests of businesses,” Interfax reported. A conviction on vigilantism charges carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison.
The other eight defendants said they acted on orders from company management.
Prosecutors said the kidnapping was organized by former Yevroset owner Yevgeny Chichvarkin, who moved to London in 2008. A request for his extradition to Russia will be considered by a British court in September.
Chichvarkin says the Yevroset case was orchestrated by Interior Ministry officials trying to take control of his business. He has denied any wrongdoing.