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MOSCOW, April 1 (Itar-Tass) – Members of the State Duma and Federation Council lower and upper houses of Russia’s parliament have completed the submission of income and property declarations – under the law, on Monday the deadline for their submission expired. These data are expected to be available to the public on the websites of both houses by April 10.
After the presidential amendments to the legislation, the parliamentarians, as well as high-ranking officials, this year for the first time had to report on their major spending (also on the spending of their spouses and underage children) - these requirements apply to transactions made in 2012. In particular, the MPs must provide information on each transaction for the acquisition of land, real estate, cars, securities and shares, if the sum of the purchase exceeds the total income of both spouses over the past three years. The lawmakers are also required to report the sources of the funds.
Chairman of the Duma Committee on the rules of procedure Sergei Popov (United Russia) explained to Itar-Tass that “the old type of the declaration forms were filled.” The new format in the near future is expected to be approved by the RF president who will issue a corresponding decree. “However, this will not prevent the execution of the law on the officials’ spending and revenue balance,” the lawmaker stressed.
He added that “all of the information – about the funds received, purchased property, will be fixed in the declaration.” “Based on the MPs’ income information over three years – this is the period the law on the mandatory declaration of the income and property is in effect, the spending with the income can be easily compared,” Popov said.
According to the head of the Duma committee, “if expenses exceeded revenues, the MP will be required to submit to the Commission (on control over the reliability of information on the income and assets) headed by Nikolai Kovalev an explanation of the source of funds for the purchase of such property.” “In addition, the leadership of political parties, non-governmental organisations, as well as the media can initiate checks of information of the lawmakers’ wealth. For this it is necessary to submit the arguments to the speaker of the State Duma,” Popov said.
Kovalev for his part told Itar-Tass that the commission he heads has no authority to self-initiate the verification of the conformity of the MPs’ incomes with spending. Such a check, according to the regulations on the commission, “can be started only after the requests come to the State Duma” from the relevant agencies or political parties, he confirmed, questioning the need to give to the commission these rights. According to the lawmaker, the MPs’ declarations will be published on the official website of the house before April 10.
The Federation Council members were also to submit their declarations by Monday. This issue was even raised at the FC latest plenary session on March 27: speaker Valentina Matviyenko said that by that time, only 66 of 159 current FC members have already submitted information on their income and spending, urging the colleagues to hurry up and do not be late to submit the declarations before the deadline expires on April 1. To all appearances, the parliamentarians have heeded to the call of the FC speaker. “In recent days, the FC members have been very actively submitting their declarations. I think that there will be no problems (with late submission),” member of the Federation Council’s committee on the rules of procedure Sergei Mamedov (Samara Region) told Itar-Tass. He said that the declarations are submitted on two separate forms. And the parliamentarians act at their discretion in filling the spending form: depending on whether they had major purchases that exceeded three-year family budget in 2012.
The declarations shall be submitted to the FC Personnel Department. “No special work is carried out on them, only the correctness of their filling is checked - maybe something needs to be corrected from a technical point of view. But no checks are made regarding their content,” said the FC member.
Later, according to Mamedov, the declarations “as soon as possible” will be published on the official website of the Federation Council.
“I think that the declarations will be published within a week, maximum – within two weeks,” member of the same committee of the Federation Council Igor Koshin (Nenets Autonomous Area) told Itar-Tass. According to him, this is rather a technical issue: “We have to transfer to the electronic form about 160 declarations.” Koshin is also convinced that there should be no FC members who are submitting the document. “I’m more than sure that all the FC members will submit the income certificate, and those who need – also about the spending, in time,” the MP told Itar-Tass on the eve of the expiration of the deadline for submission of the declarations.
Only current members of parliament and government officials are required to report their incomes and spending in 2012, that is, the requirement does not apply to those who held during the reporting period the corresponding positions, but to date, have changed jobs. This issue is particularly relevant for the upper house of parliament, as a number of FC members have recently resigned for various reasons. At the latest plenary session of the house in late March alone, the powers of four parliamentarians were terminated at a time: of athlete Svetlana Zhurova who received a State Duma member mandate, of vice speaker Svetlana Orlova who was appointed Acting Governor of the Vladimir region, as well as ex-businessman and producer Boris Shpigel, who was elected head of the international movement World without Nazism and billionaire Vitaly Malkin, who voluntarily resigned in the wake of the scandal in which he was accused of dual citizenship, doing business and owning an undeclared apartment in the United States.
“The deadline is April 1. If a person as of April 1 remains a member of the Federation Council or leaved it for the State Duma, or for one state position, which requires filing a declaration - he must submit it. If not, he is not required to submit,” Koshin explained.
Meanwhile, the State Duma members do not fear a new wave of the MPs’ “exodus” after the publication of the declarations. “Why, there is nothing to be afraid here. A person submits his declaration,” deputy speaker of the lower house Sergei Neverov told journalists earlier. “If a person has concealed something, the (relevant) commission works for this,” the politician added.