Marsha Lazareva’s Imprisonment Is A Cautionary Tale About Kuwait And The Rule Of Law
By Lord Carlile of Berriew, CBE QC
Huff Post UK
May 17, 2019 – Marsha Lazareva currently is serving a ten-year sentence in Kuwait for offences that she did not commit. I say this from a position of special knowledge, as one of her legal defence advisors. My view is shared by her various lawyers and other advisors from the UK, the USA, Russia and Kuwait. It is now also shared by the state of Kuwait; yet she remains in custody there, innocent and separated from her young son.
Marsha is a Russian citizen. She has lived and worked in Kuwait for more than 15 years. She has been extremely successful, setting up investment deals which have brought great benefit to the state of Kuwait. She was imprisoned for alleged corruption and fraudulent behaviour connected to a deal known as the Port Fund.
Her conviction was based on two main allegations – first, that the Port Fund (amounting to $496million) is ‘dirty money’, so that the investors should not be able to benefit from it; and secondly, that she signed three fraudulent documents which led to her gaining dishonest benefit in connected transactions.
That she is not guilty of these crimes does not require forensic ingenuity. Following the various interventions of her worldwide advisors, it was accepted by Kuwait that the Port Fund is clean money. It has now been released to beneficiaries, including Marsha and the state of Kuwait. Further, the so-called ‘expert witness’ who produced the three allegedly fraudulent documents was indicted several months ago for forging the self-same documents, as outrageous a perversion of the course of justice as one could imagine.