Sunday, 23 September 2012

Put your money where your Duma is- Russian attempts to keep it in the country

A draft law presented to Russia's lower house of parliament, the Duma, would forbid officials from owning assets abroad or having foreign bank accounts.

The bill was proposed by representatives of the United Russia, Liberal Democratic, Just Russia and Communist parties.

If the bill is accepted at debates in the autumn it could become law by 2013. It could carry penalties as high as 5 million roubles (over $150,000) or up to five years in prison.

All foreign owned assets and money in foreign bank accounts would be made illegal.

If a Russian politician, law enforcement or military official, from the municipal level right up to the president inherited a foreign property for example; under the new law they would have to sell it within a year and move the money to a Russian bank account. The law may also be extended to to officials' spouses.

There would be exceptions though if medical treatment was needed abroad.

In a recent poll 63% of the Russian respondents said they supported the idea.

The bill will face opposition though from members of the A Just Russia party who say these measures are excessive and populist and that they will only encourage schemes to hide money abroad that are already well known to rich and corrupt Russian officials.

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