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Joy Womack has left the Bolshoialleges corruption


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#31 volcanohunter

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Posted 13 November 2013 - 01:44 PM

Vladimir Urin, meanwhile, has stated that Womack ought to take her allegations of corruption to law enforcement and promised that the Bolshoi Theater would cooperate with any investigation. He acknowledges that there were some irregularities with her contracts and that her salary was not always paid on time, which he blames on red tape associated with the fact that she is a foreign national. He also says the money was withheld from her salary because she had not formally established that she was a tax resident of the United States. Urin says he's sorry her career at the Bolshoi did not work out and hopes that she will fare better with her new company.

 

http://news.mail.ru/...lture/15630807/



#32 Helene

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Posted 13 November 2013 - 01:51 PM

Vladimir Urin, meanwhile, has stated that Womack ought to take her allegations of corruption to law enforcement and promised that the Bolshoi Theater would cooperate with any investigation. He acknowledges that there were some irregularities with her contracts and that her salary was not always paid on time, which he blames on red tape associated with the fact that she is a foreign national. He also says the money was withheld from her salary because she had not formally established that she was a tax resident of the United States. Urin says he's sorry her career at the Bolshoi did not work out and hopes that she will fare better with her new company.

 

http://news.mail.ru/...lture/15630807/

There are similar mandatory tax withholding policies between the US and Canada; I'm not surprised the same is true between Russia and western countries. 

 

He is good:  he didn't miss a note.



#33 puppytreats

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Posted 13 November 2013 - 04:18 PM

1. So who pocketed the 1/3?

There's no evidence that anyone "pocketed" the 1/3, aside from the usual and final destination for withholding taxes, the government.

So it is sitting in escrow without any id attached?

#34 puppytreats

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Posted 13 November 2013 - 04:20 PM

What could they sue her for?
What could they prove?
What evidence do they have that what she said is untrue?
What damage did they suffer?
Does Filin preserve rights for himself or the Bolshoi?
How would he not "preserve" rights, anyway? He could always sue her, regardless.

#35 puppytreats

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Posted 13 November 2013 - 04:23 PM

Vladimir Urin, meanwhile, has stated that Womack ought to take her allegations of corruption to law enforcement and promised that the Bolshoi Theater would cooperate with any investigation. He acknowledges that there were some irregularities with her contracts and that her salary was not always paid on time, which he blames on red tape associated with the fact that she is a foreign national. He also says the money was withheld from her salary because she had not formally established that she was a tax resident of the United States. Urin says he's sorry her career at the Bolshoi did not work out and hopes that she will fare better with her new company.
 
http://news.mail.ru/...lture/15630807/

Well, then she could really be assured of never working again, and based on the thuggery described on these boards (including by law enforcement), and the advanced threats by Filin's lawyer to prevent corroboration, she would also face not being around to testify at trial. Going to court would certainly allow her to put things behind her and forget it, too. [sarcasm]

#36 Helene

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Posted 13 November 2013 - 05:08 PM

 

 

1. So who pocketed the 1/3?

There's no evidence that anyone "pocketed" the 1/3, aside from the usual and final destination for withholding taxes, the government.

 

So it is sitting in escrow without any id attached?

 

I have no idea what constitutes the actual process in Russia.  Traditionally, mandatory withholding is done so that the government is ensured of getting the taxes it is owed from a specific person, and if that money is not identified in some way, they can't verify that the Bolshoi did proper withdrawals. However, there is no evidence that it was taken from her paycheck illegally or not attributed to her, and, in fact, Urin has addressed the issue directly in a passage you quoted, and that is it was deducted because she had not established that she was a US tax resident. 

 

What could they sue her for?
What could they prove?
What evidence do they have that what she said is untrue?
What damage did they suffer?
Does Filin preserve rights for himself or the Bolshoi?
How would he not "preserve" rights, anyway? He could always sue her, regardless.

Many of your questions can only be answered by experts or speculation, and until there is official news or expert information, they will remain unanswered here.

 

 

Well, then she could really be assured of never working again, and based on the thuggery described on these boards (including by law enforcement), and the advanced threats by Filin's lawyer to prevent corroboration, she would also face not being around to testify at trial. Going to court would certainly allow her to put things behind her and forget it, too. [sarcasm]

 

She's already working:  she's been hired by the Kremlin ballet, as noted earlier in the thread.  "Preventing corroboration" is a theory, not fact. 

 

Lawsuits are civil, not criminal matters and have different standards, even in Russia.  It isn't clear from the proceedings in the Dmitrichenko trial whether Filin's request for damages are integrated into the criminal trial, or whether the outcome might trigger damages.



#37 puppytreats

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Posted 13 November 2013 - 05:52 PM

He has no reason to say he preserves his right to sue, since he always has that right. That is not an issue of speculation.

If he is saying he has a right to sue, which he is not now asserting but preserves, then he must be asserting that what she says is not true and also that he has suffered a personal damage, unless he is being mouthy, spontaneous and defensive, or untruthful. That is not an issue of speculation.

People are often threatened with respect to money, regardless of whether a civil or criminal trial ensues.

If she follows advise of Urin to go to law enforcement regarding extortion, then one assumes he is saying to make a criminal complaint.



#38 vipa

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Posted 13 November 2013 - 06:59 PM

All so interesting.  My only viewing of Joy Womack's dancing has been on youtube and she seems like a strong dancer with a very good body.  I have no idea what drew her to Russian companies, I guess that's just where her aesthetics are.   I'm not sure how she'd fit into North American companies that demand more versatility, but I wish her well in the Kremlin company.



#39 Drew

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Posted 13 November 2013 - 07:15 PM

If Filin's lawyer is saying Filin reserves the right to sue, then presumably he means reserving the right to sue for libel or the Russian legal equivalent. (My understanding is that "defamation" can be prosecuted as a criminal offense in Russia, but Filin's lawyer does not refer to anything of the kind as translated/summarized.) What damage to him from Womack's interview?  Well I should think depending on how the law is framed...damage to his reputation and all that can ensue from that--and anything of the kind would have to be determined in a court of law.

 

I think Urin's response to Womack just seems a lot smarter and also more to the point than Filin's lawyer's response, especially if she is not making any claims against Filin personally. But when someone gives an interview potentially trashing one's reputation I don't know that one doesn't have the right to send up smoke signals via lawyer that the person can't necessarily just walk away saying 'I want to put it behind me...' Though it's certainly playing hardball.

 

It's not that I'm without sympathy for Womack--I'm delighted she found a job with the Kremlin ballet--but she doesn't just say the Bolshoi was unwelcoming to her or is badly run or was late with a paycheck. She says that she was told to find a sponsor and pay for roles.



#40 Helene

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Posted 13 November 2013 - 10:45 PM

He has no reason to say he preserves his right to sue, since he always has that right. That is not an issue of speculation.

He could have many reasons to say he preserves the right to sue.  He could very well be saying, "If you have something to allege, you'd better have proof to back it up," which is just as plausible as "I will bury any of your witnesses," which is speculation, not fact. Filin's lawyer might be making this statement specifically because Filin is asking for monetary damages from the people responsible for his attack, and unsubstantiated allegations reported in the press might influence his ability to be granted and collect those monies.

There's no reason for Filin or anyone in the theater to put up with the kind of perpetual allegations that are dredged up every time Volochkova is the press's "go to" girl for a quote about sex and corruption at the Bolshoi. So far, she's proven nothing. She has less to lose than Womack, since Womack wants to continue to be employed in Russia, but Volochkova hasn't filed criminal charges.
 

If he is saying he has a right to sue, which he is not now asserting but preserves, then he must be asserting that what she says is not true and also that he has suffered a personal damage, unless he is being mouthy, spontaneous and defensive, or untruthful. That is not an issue of speculation.

Those are possibilities. There are other possibilities, such as she'd better be careful that anything she says to the press is something that she can back up in court in the future. Again, there is only speculation as to his motives.
 

People are often threatened with respect to money, regardless of whether a civil or criminal trial ensues.

Again, there's nothing to substantiate that this is what he is doing. It is one of many possibilities, not a statement of fact about Filin's motives or that of his legal team.
 

If she follows advise of Urin to go to law enforcement regarding extortion, then one assumes he is saying to make a criminal complaint.

He wouldn't have advised her to go to the police if it were a civil charge. He's told her to put her money where her mouth is if her allegations are correct and provable and to go to the police, where the prosecutors will decide whether there is a criminal case against anyone at the Bolshoi.



#41 puppytreats

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Posted 14 November 2013 - 09:36 AM

Would testimony (e.g., a statement under oath) constitutes proof under Russian law?  It is, under New York law.   Of course, to win on a claim, one would have to meet a certain burden of proof, based on assessments of credibility and an evaluation of competing evidence (including testimony of other witnesses).  So when you mention a need to "back it up with evidence," are you saying her word is not enough, or is not enough to satisfy a burden of proof to win or defeat a claim in court?    (If testimony does not suffice, one questions how one would ever bring a case.  Solely with respect to the issue of testimonial evidence, I am reminded of the need to prove rape by outside witnesses in certain cultures, which often, but not always, does not occur in the presence of outside witnesses.).

 

If he were to bring a claim, wouldn't he have the burden of proof, or is that not the case in Russia?  Also, in New York, I believe he would have to show special damages, or a specific harm.  He is a public figure involved in labor negotiations about conditions of workers.  I doubt he could establish any financial suffering from her saying she was not treated well in her job.  Nor could he establish malice, which is necessary here.  Of course, I have no idea about the laws there. 

 

In any event, my point about threats is, what would be her incentive for bringing a civil claim or reporting to law enforcement for them to decide whether to bring a criminal action?  In a hostile environment, which is described on these boards as, to some degree, lawless, contemptuous of a system of legal justice, and governed by politics and thuggery (as also evidenced by the attack on Filin), she would be subjecting herself to further threats not to testify, which could be physically, emotionally, and financially dangerous to her and her family.    What would she achieve by testifying or even by going to law enforcement?  Does one really  think any positive reform would result (that  calls for speculation, but one has good reason to make a pessimistic cost/benefit analysis in this regard.)



#42 California

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Posted 14 November 2013 - 09:51 AM

If you google - Russian defamation law - lots of informative articles come up. Here's one from the Library of Congress reporting that defamation has been re-criminalized: http://www.loc.gov/l...l205403291_text

Suffice it to say that Russia does not have a 1st amendment/bill of rights, as we do to the U.S. Constitution, nor does Russia have 200+ years of common law precedent for what free speech means.

#43 Helene

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Posted 14 November 2013 - 10:56 AM

Would testimony (e.g., a statement under oath) constitutes proof under Russian law?  It is, under New York law.   Of course, to win on a claim, one would have to meet a certain burden of proof, based on assessments of credibility and an evaluation of competing evidence (including testimony of other witnesses).  So when you mention a need to "back it up with evidence," are you saying her word is not enough, or is not enough to satisfy a burden of proof to win or defeat a claim in court?

Are you suggesting that anyone who walks into a police station and makes an accusation has their word accepted at face value with no corroborating evidence, that the prosecutors automatically will accept it -- estimated 99% conviction rate in Russia -- and that the accused will sit back and not say, "S/he's lying" or "S/he misunderstood"?

"Backing it up with evidence" might be notes from phone calls, a paper trail, an audit of books and bank accounts, corroborating witnesses, police investigations, etc.

Going to the police doesn't even necessarily mean testifying: it could be providing enough for them to decide to investigate and gather their own evidence.
 

If he were to bring a claim, wouldn't he have the burden of proof, or is that not the case in Russia?  Also, in New York, I believe he would have to show special damages, or a specific harm.  He is a public figure involved in labor negotiations about conditions of workers.  I doubt he could establish any financial suffering from her saying she was not treated well in her job.  Nor could he establish malice, which is necessary here.  Of course, I have no idea about the laws there.

So far, no Russian legal experts have either discussed this in the media or volunteered to post about the specifics. There are much more stringent libel laws in Great Britain, for example, than in NY. There are different burdens of proof depending on place. Without knowledge of Russian law, any answer would be speculation.
 

In any event, my point about threats is, what would be her incentive for bringing a civil claim or reporting to law enforcement for them to decide whether to bring a criminal action?  In a hostile environment, which is described on these boards as, to some degree, lawless, contemptuous of a system of legal justice, and governed by politics and thuggery (as also evidenced by the attack on Filin), she would be subjecting herself to further threats not to testify, which could be physically, emotionally, and financially dangerous to her and her family.    What would she achieve by testifying or even by going to law enforcement?  Does one really  think any positive reform would result (that  calls for speculation, but one has good reason to make a pessimistic cost/benefit analysis in this regard.)

There are plenty of reasons for it not to be worth it for her personally to go to the police: that's up to her unless there is the equivalent of a subpoena, where she could be forced to testify, based on her already public accusation.

As far as what she could achieve, justice perhaps, on behalf of the dancers of a venerable institution that was her dream but has disappointed her so. Not letting criminals pursue criminal activity and hurt other people is another reason she might. Of course it's up to her to decide if it's worth it, but, in the meantime, the people she accuses in the press of criminal behavior without pursuing criminal charges through the system have the right to point her to the process and to defend themselves against her accusations in any legal way they see fit.



#44 puppytreats

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Posted 14 November 2013 - 01:01 PM

 

Would testimony (e.g., a statement under oath) constitutes proof under Russian law?  It is, under New York law.   Of course, to win on a claim, one would have to meet a certain burden of proof, based on assessments of credibility and an evaluation of competing evidence (including testimony of other witnesses).  So when you mention a need to "back it up with evidence," are you saying her word is not enough, or is not enough to satisfy a burden of proof to win or defeat a claim in court?

Are you suggesting that anyone who walks into a police station and makes an accusation has their word accepted at face value with no corroborating evidence, that the prosecutors automatically will accept it -- estimated 99% conviction rate in Russia -- and that the accused will sit back and not say, "S/he's lying" or "S/he misunderstood"?

"Backing it up with evidence" might be notes from phone calls, a paper trail, an audit of books and bank accounts, corroborating witnesses, police investigations, etc.

Going to the police doesn't even necessarily mean testifying: it could be providing enough for them to decide to investigate and gather their own evidence.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If she were subpoenaed in someone else's civil case, or deposed in his civil suit against her, then her testimony alone would constitute evidence in New York.  Whether the evidence would be sufficient to meet a burden of proof, I cannot say.  If she were sued criminally (after he went to law enforcement authorities and lodged a complaint, I assume), then she would have a right not to testify in New York. I don't know what the law is in Russia in this regard.

 

 

I doubt the prosecutors would bring a case with a 99% conviction rate against the powerful leaders or patrons (inside and outside of government) of the theatre.  The more typical behavior against  those not in power involves a campaign of defamation, harassment, and threats, or the disregard of any complaint against those in power.  The prosecutor would simply exercise discretion or say he lacks sufficient evidence to bring a case.  I would suggest that his focus on her statement brings more attention to it.



#45 puppytreats

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Posted 14 November 2013 - 01:06 PM

Helene states: "n the meantime, the people she accuses in the press of criminal behavior without pursuing criminal charges through the system have the right to point her to the process and to defend themselves against her accusations in any legal way they see fit."
 
 

Response: If she is telling the truth, then he does not have to say "she is lying" automatically, as you suggest.   He could say nothing, or he could say, "I have investigated, and she is telling the truth, and I am sorry, and I am trying to fix things so no one else gets hurt."  
 
Alternatively, he could say, "That is life, it is outside the theatre, we don't condone it."  Or he could say, "What is wrong with having a sponsor?"  I don't know what Russian law is in that regard.
 
She did not necessarily go to the press with a scandal or threat.  She probably gave an interview and probably answered a question about why she quit, honestly, although not necessarily shrewdly.
 
Unfortunately, as I said above, often defense does not involve "any legal way they see fit", based on my reading of these boards.


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