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MOSCOW, November 1 (Itar-Tass) — The ruling United Russia Party on Thursday accused the parliament Opposition of twisting the case of former lawmaker Gennady Gudkov, who was stripped of his mandate for entrepreneurship which is incompatible with the status of lawmaker. They are trying to substitute one responsibility with other; trying to claim that since there are no criminal charges against Gudkov, he has not violated the law. "In actual fact, he has violated the law, but he hasn't violated the penal code," deputy secretary of United Russia's General Council, head of the house committee for labor and social relations Andrei Isayev said.
Earlier on Thursday, the Prosecutor General's Office /PGO/ said it would not open a case against Gudkov in connection with his illegal entrepreneurial activity.
Head of the legal service of the Communist Party Vadim Solovyov, referring to a letter from the PGO he had received, said the PGO had refused to open proceedings against Gudkov twice because of a lack of corpus delicti in his actions: i.e. he had not committed any tax crimes nor had he engaged in illegal business.
Furthermore, the second decision /not to open criminal proceedings against Gudkov/ was made after the State Duma voted for taking the lawmaker's mandate from Gudkov," said Solovyov, who is a deputy chairman of the house committee for constitutional legislation and state development.
"When we were reviewing the Gudkov issue, they were threatening us with this criminal case saying some facts would be exposed. It appears that they had nothing on him."
When asked by Itar-Tass about Gudkov's being accused of the fact of entrepreneurship, Solovyov explained that "the lawmaker must not have a business, because if he runs one, it is illegal, and he can be held responsible for it."
"It turns out running a business was enough to strip him of his mandate, but when it came to opening criminal proceedings, it appeared Gudkov was not running business." There was no need to carry out an expert examination of this issue and put it up on the State Duma agenda. They should have shown some evidence of legal significance, not the copies with illegible signatures, he said.
But Isayev reminded that the Sate Duma had never brought any criminal charges against Gudkov. "He was accused of violating Article 4 of the law on the status of the State Duma deputy" which bans combining legislative activity with business, and used his office position in the interests of his business."
"Since Gudkov violated this article, he was stripped of the lawmaker's status," he said. So the verdict by supervisory bodies on Gudkov has nothing to do with State Duma's vote on Gudkov," he stated.
For her part, head of the house committee for security and combating corruption Irina Yarovaya stated that the letter signed by the deputy prosecutor general was about "criminally punished deeds, whereas the ban on running business by State Duma lawmakers is the matter of non-compliance with the condition of the lawmaker's activity.
Gennady Gudkov called the report on the PGO's decision not to open a criminal case against him "good news."
He acknowledged that he had known about this decision. "Making it public is an indication that the authorities are easing political reprisals," he stated.
Gudkov confirmed his intention to challenge, at the Supreme Court, the State Duma's decision to strip him of his lawmaker’s mandate. "The statement of claim is ready, but we'll only file it after November 20, after the first session of the Constitution Court over the inquiry by 116 deputies from A Just Russia and the Communist Party," he said.
The former lawmaker said if he ever returned to the State Duma, it would be by court ruling. He reminded about the Central Election Commission's explanations that Gudkov "may return to the State Duma if A Just Russia faction asks someone to give up his mandate for Gudkov."
"The law does not prohibit it. But getting back at any cost is not my objective. Nobody has to give up his mandate for my sake. We'll wait for court rulings," Gudkov said.
The State Duma voted to strip Gudkov of his mandate on September 14.