The case of Nadezhda Fratti-Shchelgacheva, a former Russian and now citizen of Italy, about the organization of the illegal adoption of children from Volgograd children’s homes was rather scandalous. However, it produced no effect after the hearing was over. Russia’s court, which is very often referred to as “the most humane court in the world”, discharged Fratti for lack of corpus delicti. As soon as the decision was passed, on April 19, the Volgograd prosecutor’s office appealed against the court decision. The appeal was made too late, because Nadezhda Fratti had been released after the trial. Now, it is impossible to establish her location.
What is more, Deputy Prosecutor of the Volgograd region Mikhail Murzayev says that the protest of the Volgograd prosecutor’s office against the court decision concerning Nadezhda Fratti case was not submitted to Russia’s Supreme Court at all. The problem is that, according to Russia’s new legislation, Nadezhda Fratti is the first to read the protest, and only after this the document can be submitted to the Supreme Court, but the woman is evidently reluctant to do this.
Moreover, because Nadezhda Fratti-Shchelgacheva was discharged on the grounds of lack of corpus delicti, she can appeal to the international court for compensation of an illegal forced imprisonment. At that, compensations may reach over $100 per day of imprisonment. If such appeal is made, the sum of the possible suit initiated by Fratti will greatly exceed the Volgograd prosecutor office’s annual budget.
However, there is still some progress in the case. The Volgograd prosecutor’s office asked Italian officials to interrogate families who had adopted children from Volgograd. Forty-six people have been questioned as of now. These people confirm that Nadezhda Fratti was paid from 7 to 12 thousand dollars for every adopted baby. The investigation is not over yet; however, it is unlikely that more court hearings will take place in connection with the case.
The case at the same time is rather peculiar. According to well-informed sources, there was a secret agreement between the Volgograd prosecutor’s office and the court during investigation of Nadezhda Fratti case: the prosecutor’s office promised not to investigate rather dubious relations between Fratti and the Volgograd judicial corps, and the court, in its turn, fulfills regulatory requirements of the prosecutor’s office and puts Nadezhda Fratti in jail for the whole period determined in connection with the crime. It seems that Fratti had rather close connections with members of the Volgograd court, and this provided some strong arguments for the court to break even the secret agreement with the prosecutor’s office.
It is to be mentioned that Nadezhda Fratti organized the export of over one thousand children from Russia to different countries of the world. The problem is that the majority of the children cannot be tracked down by police in different countries. It is not ruled out that some of the children were sent to San Remo establishments for rich pedophiles. The children could have been also used for transplantation operations. This conclusion comes from the fact that Nadezhda Fratti purposefully picked out mentally retarded but perfectly healthy children. In any case, it is obvious that traces of the majority of the children were irrevocably lost in Italy.
When one thinks about the scandalous case, one becomes terrified with the facts of the alleged adoptions. Nadezhda Fratti earned about $1.5 million from the illegal adoption of Russian children. Practically the same sum was spent for bribes to different officials, but, to tell the truth, no money can make up for the damaged children fates. Often, the children were secretly transported abroad, even regardless of the fact that relatives in Russia wanted to adopt them.
Andrey Cherkassov PRAVDA.Ru Volgograd
Translated by Maria Gousseva
Article of PRAVDA.Ru correspondent Andrey Cherkassov about details of Fratti’s criminal activity will be soon published.
Read the original in Russian: http://pravda.ru/main/2002/07/15/44170.html