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Russia MPs discuss bill prohibiting officials, MPs to have foreign accounts

April 19, 2013, 14:10 UTC+3

Officials will be required within 3 months from the date of taking these positions to liquidate their assets in foreign banks

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MOSCOW, April 19 (Itar-Tass) – The State Duma lower house of Russia’s parliament on Friday gathered to discuss in the second and main reading the package of bills introduced by the president and MPs to prohibit high-ranking officials and parliamentarians to have bank accounts abroad.

Restrictions will affect the holders of public office of the Russian Federation, the prosecutor general’s deputies, members of the Board of Directors of the Central Bank; public posts of the RF subjects and the federal civil service to which the president, the government or the prosecutor general appoint. The ban also applies to the posts of deputy heads of federal bodies of executive authority, positions in state corporations, funds and other organisations created under federal laws, the appointment to which is under the supervision of the president or the government.

Judges, members of parliament (Duma and Federation Council members), military servicemen, investigators and prosecutors, the Interior Ministry officers, customs and tax authorities officers, as well as staff members of extra-budgetary funds and auditors of the Audit Chamber. The law is to be applied also to the head of urban districts, municipal districts, as well as the spouses and underage children of the above persons.

The listed officials will be required within 3 months from the date of taking these positions to liquidate their assets in foreign banks. Failure to comply with the ban will result in “the early termination of office, removal from office or dismissal due to lack of confidence.”

One of the amendments states that the candidates for Russia’s president at the time of registration by the Central Election Commission (CEC) will be required to close their accounts abroad.

Head of the Duma committee on security and combating corruption Irina Yarovaya told journalists earlier that corrections for the second reading introduce the general definition - “foreign financial instruments,” which “will cover all types of foreign securities and derivative financial instruments (shares, bonds, depository receipts, equities, options, futures, forwards, swaps and other).” “The ban is set on keeping all values, not just cash in foreign banks (precious metals, stones and so on),” said the lawmaker.

“Taking into account the possibility of the use of the trust management institution, the trust management, which implies investing in foreign financial instruments is subject to termination,” the head of the Duma committee specified.

Yarovaya drew attention to the fact that the amendments to the list of positions for which restrictions are introduced includes “the candidates for the posts of senior officials of the RF subjects, the regional parliament members, the candidates for membership in the Federation Council, the political executives of urban districts and municipal districts.”

In addition, by the decision of the RF president, the head of administration or a person specially authorised by them the (corresponding) department of the presidential administration can conduct all the checks of all subjects, regardless of the inspection conducted by the personnel departments,” the politician warned.

First deputy head of the United Russia faction in the State Duma Vyacheslav Timchenko is convinced that these bills “go far beyond the anti-corruption theme.” “Political analysts talk about the nationalisation of the political and administrative elite, which, I believe, not fully reveals the gist of the bill,” he said. “In my view, the president sets a far more serious political task. The point is to reformat the relations between the society and authorities,” said Timchenko.

In his view, “the quintessence of this task fulfilment should be the formation of a new type of the state elite, the backbone of which would be made of the middle class - doctors, teachers, active educated youth, scientific and technical intelligentsia, skilled workers, representatives of small and medium-sized businesses.”

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