Russian deputies and state officials will have to reveal their foreign accounts and assets. Otherwise, they will face punishment, up to the criminal persecution. The State Duma will consider the appropriate bill soon. The inspections will sooner begin at the A Just Russia Party. In the view of the experts, these actions are aimed “to reduce the level of independence and to intimidate” the elite.
The State Duma is considering two bills, which concern a ban for state officials, deputies, their spouses and underage children to have foreign accounts and assets, the Kommersant daily reported. According to the presidential bill (which is submitted in the State Duma last February) the refusal to get rid of the accounts and assets within three months after the enactment of the law will be punished with a dismissal, and the lawmakers will be punished with the early termination of their powers. A tougher bill was submitted by representatives of four State Duma factions back in 2012. The bill envisages that Article 289 Part 1 for violation of the ban, which is imposed by the law regarding a foreign account and (or) property, was introduced in the Russian Criminal Code. The Criminal Code envisages a fine from five millions to ten millions of roubles or a term of up to five years in prison with further deprivation of the right to occupy a state post within next three years.
Both bills were already approved in the first reading. The second reading, which is expected in April 2013, and the presidential (basic) bill and the version of the bill submitted by the deputies will be considered in the package.
Thus, the newspaper noted that in the matter of punishment the presidential bill will not change, but will only add on the deputy’s initiative. Although, the deputies intend to cede to the president in the questions of foreign real estate possession. Instead of the full ban on foreign real estate possession that the State Duma deputies offered, the special procedure to declare this foreign real estate was introduced with the information about the source of the monetary funds, on which the real estate was purchased.
Vladimir Putin needs “a purge of the elite and a lower level of independence of state officials,” president of the St. Petersburg Politics Foundation Mikhail Vinogradov told the Kommersant daily. The introduction of criminal responsibility for violations of the presidential bans “makes part of the logic of intimidation of state officials and their higher level of dependence from the law enforcement agencies.” “The question is that whether active candidates for state officials, who are ready to give up with the restrictions, will appear,” the expert added.
The Russian Investigation Committee has already drafted an initiative, which permits to ask from the foreign countries the information about the foreign accounts of deputies and senators there in order to check the received information with the tax declarations of state officials, informed sources of the Moskovsky Komsomolets daily confirmed. This is primarily the countries, in which Russian citizens traditionally withdraw their assets – Switzerland, Lichtenstein, Singapore, Hong Kong and Cyprus. But probably this list will be enlarged in the future. With the enactment of the basic law, as the experts believe, the deputies from the A Just Russia Party will fall the first ‘victims’ of the legal requests for the possession of undeclared deposits, assets and real estate. All these restrictions are caused by the high-profile scandals, in which the deputies of the A Just Russia faction are the figurants. The members of the LDPR and Communist factions are next in line, as many questions have also amassed to some of them, the experts noted. Only after this step the inspection will spread on the United Russia Party.