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A bill on tightening anti-corruption measures has been submitted to the State Duma lower house of parliament. United Russia deputy Irina Yarovaya has offered to make up a single list of corruption crimes. Expenses of officials suspected of corruption will be checked and costly buys may be seized in favor of the state.
Measures taken against people suspected of appropriating budget means will be the most revolutionary, the RBK Daily writes. Irina Yarovaya offers to check the expenses of such an official, his wife and underage children over the past three years. “Thus an opportunity will appear to return the money earned illegally,” the author of the bill writes.
When a criminal case is opened against an official, additional information about him or her will go to the General Prosecutor’s Office in a special procedure. “Within the framework of control over expenses, prosecutor office’s staffers will check the official’s latest major spending. If suspicious buys are found, the prosecutor general has the authority to initiate a lawsuit to alienate such property,” Yarovaya explains.
She also offered to make amendments to Article 164.1 (Embezzlement of budget means, means of state extra-budget funds and financial assets of state companies and state corporations), the Kommersant daily writes. Irrespectively of the way of embezzlement, such crime will be punished with up to seven years in prison with a fine of up to 500,000 roubles. Theft of extremely large amounts of money will be punished with eight to 15 years in jail with a fine of three million to five million roubles.
“Amendments offered by Irina Yarovaya is an attempt to get rid of the image of the party of thieves and swindlers, that has firmly stuck with United Russia,” the head of the Communist Party’s legal service, Duma deputy Vadim Solovyov, believes. “They have nothing to do with a real fight against corruption,” he adds. Solovyov sees pluses in the introduction of criminal responsibility of up to 15 years in prison, but he fears that this amendment may fail to be passed.
The head of the National Anticorruption Committee, Kirill Kabanov, explained to the Kommersant that the amendments were needed first of all to comply with commitments within the framework of the Economic Cooperation Organization and to reach progress in fight against corruption. “What can be easier? Taking some articles of the Criminal Code and uniting them into the so-called corruption crimes,” he marked. Kabanov is sure that “all could have been done simpler,” - by ratifying Article 20 of the UN Convention against Corruption.
“However, representatives of our elite consider it anti-constitutional as it violates the presumption of innocence,” he explained. “That is why they have invented such a complex mechanism, and it is still unclear how it will be functioning,” he said.
According to experts questioned by the Nezavisimaya Gazeta, there won’t be major changes in anti-corruption policy because of this, as its main task is not laws but their enforcement. Experts also marked that the country’s citizens who support on the whole attention of the authorities to corruption, are skeptical about their activity in that direction. “The main mood prevailing there is skepticism persisting for the past few years,” the deputy director of Levada-Tsentr (public opinion studies centre), Alexei Grazhdankin said.
The Public Opinion Foundation recently carried out an opinion poll on the corruption issue. One third of the polled nationals said there is no way to win over corruption, as “Russia rests on it”.