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SK ready to open criminal case against State Duma lawmaker from A Just Russia faction Ilya Ponomaryov, the newspaper Izvestia writes

May 20, 2013, 12:53 UTC+3

It is unclear how long the procedure to strip the lawmaker of immunity may last

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The SK will insist that Ponomaryov be stripped of lawmaker's immunity. SK spokesman Vladimir Markin told the Izvestia that the SK would pass all the necessary documents to the Prosecutor General's Office which would request the State Duma to strip the lawmaker of immunity.

In mid-April, investigators found out that vice-president of the Skolkovo foundation Alexei Beltyukov had allegedly passed 750,000 dollars of the foundation's money to Ponomaryov, for a series of lectures in different Russian towns and certain research.

"During the latest questioning, the investigators notified Ponomaryov that they would open a criminal case against him and ask to strip him of lawmaker's immunity," Markin told the Izvestia.

It is unclear how long the procedure to strip the lawmaker of immunity may last. Judging by practice, it might drag for several months.

Meanwhile, Ponomaryov told the Izvestia the coordination procedure was long, and that he therefore could not predict the outcome of the accusations.

"If everything goes according to law, there will be no consequences for me. If not, it may be anything," he said.

Earlier, Ponomaryov said he had received just a tiny portion of the 750,000 dollars. Almost all the money was used as "technical expenses," such as work with experts and travelling expenses.

United Russia has already stated its readiness to strip the Opposition lawmaker of immunity. "Regardless of the lawmaker's name, we support such requests, if all the requirements of the law are met; they contribute to ascertaining the truth. Stripping of immunity is not an acknowledgement of guilt, it's just a necessary move to clarify all the circumstances of the case," deputy secretary of the Party's General Council Olga Batalina said.

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