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Depriving Russian opposition lawmaker of immunity approved by parliament commitee

April 06, 2015, 11:37 UTC+3
Ilya Ponomaryov is accused of complicity in embezzling $ 383,300
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Ilya Ponomaryov

Ilya Ponomaryov

©  ITAR-TASS / Anton Novoderezhkin

MOSCOW, April 6. /TASS/. The Russian State Duma's committee for regulations has supported the proposal of the Prosecutor General's Office to deprive lawmaker Ilya Ponomarev of deputy impunity. The issue is due to considered at the State Duma session on April 7, Vladimir Ponevezhsky, a member of the United Russia faction at the parliament's lower house, said on Monday.

Head of the State Duma committee for regulations Sergey Popov noted: "The committee unanimously agreed that the issue should be considered by the State Duma, and the lower house of the Russian parliament should take a decision." "The committee’s decision recommends to yield consent to it. If the Prosecutor General’s Office asks us to give our consent, we cannot act otherwise. But the final decision whether to agree or not is taken by the lower house of the parliament," he said.

All parliamentary factions are ready to support the Prosecutor General Office’s decision, but they are to formally take a decision by Tuesday.

Meanwhile, leader of the United Russia faction Vladimir Vasilyev has reminded reporters on Monday that "[law enforcement agencies] had repeatedly made similar appeals with regard to members of our and other factions, and we [the State Duma] had usually met them halfway."

Russia’s Investigations Committee plans opening a criminal case against Ponomaryov who is currently staying abroad.

According to investigators, Ilya Ponomaryov is accused of complicity in embezzling 22 million rubles ($ 383,300) that he received from the Skolkovo Foundation.

In April 2013, the Skolkovo Foundation filed a lawsuit against Ponomaryov, who was formally a member of A Just Russia Party’s caucus in the State Duma. The lawsuit followed his refusal to file a financial report on the lectures, which he was support to give under a contract with the foundation and which he received $ 750,000 for.

Ponomaryov said in a telephone interview with TASS last September he was staying abroad but he was ready to return unless the authorities imposed foreign travel restrictions on him. At the time of the conversation, he had plans to stay in Asian countries and to go to the US.

The Office of Russia’s Prosecutor General submitted a query to the Duma on Wednesday, March 25, asking it to strip Ponomaryov of parliamentary immunity.

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