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Criminal liability for extortion (art.163 of the Russian Criminal Code)

Criminal liability for extortion (art.163 of the Russian Criminal Code)


Extortion - is the requirement to transfer another's property or right to property or commit other acts of a property nature under threat of violence or destruction or damage of another's property, as well as under the threat of the spread of information that defames the victim or his relatives or other information that could cause substantial harm to the rights or the legitimate interests of the victim or his relatives

The penalty for extortion is provided in the form of imprisonment for up to 4 years; for qualified extortion is by imprisonment up to 15 years.

The subject of extortion according to the meaning of art. 163 of the Criminal Code is the property of another, namely, belongings including cash, documentary securities; non-cash means, book-entry securities, as well as property rights, including the right to demand and exclusive rights.

By the right to property, the transfer of which may be related to requirements for extortion, article 163 of the Criminal Code means certified in the documents permission to exercise the powers of the lawful holder in relation to a particular property.

Other actions of material nature, the commission of which is directed at the demand within extortion, are actions which are not directly related to the tranfer of ownership or other proprietary rights (execution of works or services that are reimbursable under normal conditions of civil turnover).

Victims of extortion can be recognized not only the owner or the lawful holder, but also other actual owner of the property (for example, the person performing the protection of property or having access to it by virtue of their duties or personal relationships), that has suffered physical, material or moral damage.

Extortion under part. 1, art. 163 of the Criminal Code, requires a threat of any violence. The threat shall be perceived by a victim as a real. To evaluate the threat as real it does not matter, if the guilty shows the intention to implement it immediately or in the future.

Extortion is considered to be a completed crime from the time when the submitted request, coupled with the threat, is disclosed to the victim. Victims' failure to comply with the demand does not affect the legal assessment of the offense as a completed crime.

In addressing the issue of drawing a line between robbery, banditry and extortion connected with violence, it should be noted that in case of robbery and banditry violence is a means of taking possession of the property or its retention, but in case of extortion it reinforces the threat. Misappropriation of property in case of robbery and banditry occurs simultaneously with the commission of acts of violence or immediately after their completion, and in case of extortion the guilty's intent is aimed at obtaining the desired property in the future.

When extortion involves immediate withdrawal of the property of the victim, in the presence of a real set of crimes, these actions depending on the nature of the use of violence must be further qualified as robbery or banditry.

If the demand to transfer of property or rights for property or commit other acts of a property nature is legitimate, but is accompanied by the threat , then such activities do not entail criminal responsibility for extortion. If there is evidence of some other crime (eg, death threats, arbitrary action) their deeds should be classified under the relevant article of the Special Part of the Russian Criminal Code.

When according to a preliminary agreement between the partners of extortion, in accordance with the distribution of roles, each of which performs a single action as part of the objective side of extortion (expresses demand or expresses threat or uses violence), they both are criminally responsible for extortion, committed by a group of persons by prior conspiracy.


Senior Assistant of the city prosecutor

of Chelyabinsk L.I. Shemyakina