MOSCOW, March 21 (Itar-Tass) – Lawmakers at the State Duma lower house of the Russian parliament asked Prosecutor General Yuri Chika, Interior Ministry Vladimir Kolokoltsev and Federal Tax Service director Mikhail Mishustin to check tax payments by the newspaper Moskovsky Komsomolets /MK/ and a number of its employees.
The inquiry whose text is available to Itar-Tass, refers to a video placed on the Internet on Wednesday which allegedly shows "the handover of a considerable sum of money to MK employees as remuneration for writing and publishing articles."
"The handover of money was not confirmed either by documents or receipts, which gives the reason to assume that the designated sums have not been taxed," the authors of the statement said.
In case violations are detected, the lawmakers, including United Russia members Andrei Krasov, Raisa Karmazina, Mikhail Starshinov and Nikolai Valuyev and Liberal Democratic Party members Vladimir Ovsyannikov and Roman Khudyakov ask to "take measures in accordance with the effective legislation."
On Wednesday, lawmakers alleged that each MK issue carried advertisement of sex services with phone numbers of prostitutes and their pimps, under the guise of entertainment. They requested prosecutors and police to check the newspaper.
However, MK editor-in-chief Pavel Gusev dismissed lawmakers' accusations.
"We've already had such a check; it hasn't found any violations. Let them check, we are ready. The accusations are groundless. There is nothing to prove," Gusev told Tass.
The group of lawmakers behind the request includes secretary of United Russia's General Council Sergei Neverov, his deputy Sergei Zheleznyak, and lawmakers Olga Batalina and Yekaterina Lakhova.
On Tuesday, lawmakers demanded an apology from Gusev for the newspaper article which had criticized their colleagues, saying he no longer could be head of Moscow's Journalists Union and a Public Chamber member.
The lawmakers supported a draft statement on inadmissibility of abusing freedom of expressing by the mass media. The document was drawn by the United Russia faction. The house voted 300 - 97 for the document. The Communists and A Just Russia faction did not support the statement.
The article titled "Political Prostitution Changes Gender" was carried by the newspaper and sparked uproar. It targeted three United Russia female lawmakers Irina Yarovaya, Olga Batalina and Yekaterina Lakhova.
The statement said the article "overstepped all thinkable boundaries of cynicism, partiality and ordinary boorishness."
Liberal Democratic Party /LDPR/ leader Vladimir Zhirinovsky called for revoking the State Duma accreditation from the MK journalist, restructuring the newspaper and taking it away from Gusev. His bid was supported by United Russia deputy Mikhail Markelov.
Pavel Gusev said he had nothing to apologize for because he had not insulted anybody.
"I'm not going to apologize to anybody; because I have not insulted anyone. It's Andrei Isayev who should apologize to journalists. I have nothing to apologize for," Gusev told Tass.
He had complained about Isayev's threats against journalists to the Prosecutor General's Office and the Investigative Committee.
Meanwhile, Isayev told Tass he did not regret his remarks on Twitter because they were "the correct, natural and normal reaction to a public insult of women."