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State Duma approves criminal liability for aiding West’s anti-Russia sanctions

May 15, 12:39 UTC+3

The State Duma unanimously adopted in the first reading a draft law on criminal liability for complying with Western sanctions on Russian soil

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© Anna Isakova/Russian State Duma Press Service/TASS

MOSCOW, May 15. /TASS/. The State Duma, lower house of the Russian parliament at a meeting on Tuesday unanimously adopted in the first reading a draft law on criminal liability for complying with Western sanctions on Russian soil.

The initiative was introduced on Monday by the Speakers of the State Duma and the Federation Council (upper house of parliament) Vyacheslav Volodin and Valentina Matvienko, as well as leaders and representatives of all parliamentary factions.

The bill proposes supplementing Russia’s Criminal Code with a new article - 284.2 "Restricting or Refusing to Perform Ordinary Business Operations or Transactions for the Purpose of Assisting the Enforcement of Restrictive Measures Imposed by a Foreign State, a Group of Foreign States or by an International Organization."

Four years imprisonment

Part 1 of the new article envisages liability "for action or the lack of action" for the purposes of enforcing anti-Russian sanctions, if they restrict or deny Russian citizens, corporate entities, the Russian Federation, its regions or municipalities, and also their controlled entities the performance of ordinary business operations or transactions. Violations of this provision entail a penalty of up to 600,000 rubles ($9,700) or placed in custody for a period of up to four years, or penal labor for the same period or imprisonment for a term of up to four years, along with fiscal penalties of up to 200,000 rubles ($3,230).

Aiding and abetting imposition of sanctions

A separate clause (part 2 of article 284.2) proposes introducing criminal liability for aiding and abetting the imposition of restrictions against Russia. This is understood to mean "the performance of willful actions by a Russian citizen that help a foreign state or a group of foreign states or an international organization to impose restrictive measures on Russian public and private entities and also on their controlled entities." This provision also covers "the issuance of recommendations and the transfer of information" that have caused or may have caused the imposition of restrictions against Russian companies and citizens.

Violations of this type envisage a penalty of up to 500,000 rubles ($8,100), or placed in custody for a term of up to three years, or penal labor for the same period, or an arrest for up to six months, or imprisonment for a term of up to three years, along with fiscal penalties of up to 200,000 rubles ($3,230).

The draft law defines "ordinary business operations or transactions" as legal actions that "are freely performed as part of normal economic and other law-abiding activity by persons that do not differ from private or public entities, and also from their controlled foreign entities against which the restrictive measures have been imposed."

State Duma Speaker Volodin told reporters that anti-sanction laws should protect the economy, security, rights and freedom of Russian citizens. According to him, "more than 400 legal entities and about 200 citizens of Russia have been slapped by the Western sanctions.

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