Member of the Federation Council (FC) upper house of Russia’s parliament Vitaly Malkin, following State Duma members Vladimir Pekhtin and Irina Yarovaya, has been accused by bloggers of having undeclared property. Blogger Alexei Navalny, who made public information about the property of Malkin, also claims that the FC member has Israeli citizenship. Both Malkin and his colleagues did not comment on the accusations on Thursday.
As follows from the documents made public by Alexei Navalny, Vitaly Malkin through the Canadian company Ontario Limited he owns in the period from 1994 to 2011 owned 111 commercial offices condominiums, the Kommersant daily writes. However, “neither the ownership of a 100-percent stake in a foreign company nor real estate belonging to this organisation” was reflected in his declarations. The FC member’s apartment in New York worth 16 million US dollars, over which he is in litigation with an American design bureau, is also undeclared. To confirm these facts Navalny presents copies of Vitaly Malkin’s application for getting residence permit in Canada and extracts from a Canadian real estate website. The immigration application form of Vitaly Malkin specifies that he has Israeli citizenship. As the business activity and foreign citizenship contradicts the Law “On the Status of the FC and State Duma Members,” the opposition members has sent requests to RF Prosecutor General Yuri Chaika, FC speaker Valentina Matviyenko, as well as to the Federal Security Service (FSB) and the parliament of Buryatia to conduct an inquiry and raise the issue of early resignation of Vitaly Malkin.
Political analyst Alexei Mukhin told the Kommersant newspaper that experts have long ago put Malkin into the “risk group.” He believes that “the story will be continued, as a result of which Vitaly Malkin will be dismissed from service.”
The newspaper recalls that on March 6, the powers of FC member Nikolai Olshansky who is on the Russian Forbes list, were terminated. FC member Boris Shpigel whose family’s aggregate income is 127.7 million roubles, has also declared he intends to resign. Suleiman Kerimov, Andrei Klishas and Mikhail Margelov have also been named as the potential candidates for resignation from the FC. At the same time, FC speaker Valentina Matviyenko said earlier that after the adoption of the law that prohibits officials and parliamentarians to own foreign accounts, “at least two more FC members will step down.”
Being member of the Federation Council, Vitaly Malkin continued to run a business in Canada and owned an office building in Toronto, not mentioning about it in his declarations, the Vedomosti newspaper stresses. Before May 2000 he held double – Russian and Israeli citizenship, and in Israel he has the name Avikhor Ben-Bar. This follows from the materials of the case “Malkin vs Canada Citizenship and Immigration Ministry” in the Federal Court of Canada in which Malkin appealed first the refusal to grant him the immigrant status and then – refusal to grant him temporary residence permit. The reason for the refusal was a suspicion that Malkin used proceeds from organised criminal activity for undermining democratic processes in Russia.
The amendment prohibiting parliamentarians to have citizenship of a foreign state or residence permit in a foreign state was adopted in 2006. Malkin works in the Federation Council since 2004, the newspaper specifies. Parliament members are banned from running a business – MP Gennady Gudkov was stripped of his mandate for this in September 2012.