MOSCOW, April 7 /TASS/. The Russian State Duma (lower house of parliament) has stripped Deputy Ilya Ponomaryov of his parliamentary immunity by 438 votes with one against on Tuesday. The deputies also satisfied the request of the Russian Prosecutor General’s Office to give consent to the initiation of criminal proceedings against Ponomaryov.
The Russian Investigation Committee believes that Ilya Ponomaryov took the most active part in misappropriating 22 million rubles, or around $399, 630, worth of budget funds allocated to the Skolkovo Foundation, the main agency responsible for the Russian Skolkovo Innovation Center, with which Ponomaryov had concluded contracts for carrying out scientific research and reading lectures.
Ponomaryov is formally a member of "A Just Russia" party’s parliamentary faction whose leadership had demanded he hand over his mandate many times.
Russia’s First Deputy Chief Prosecutor Alexander Buksman said in his speec h at a State Duma meeting earlier on Tuesday that Ponomaryov’s case was far from being isolated.
"We have sent other materials on the Skolkovo Foundation case to prosecutors who are going to initiate criminal proceedings against the foundation’s management for distributing grants to their pocket structures," Buksman told the deputies.