The Russian State Duma will debate a bill, submitted by all four of its party factions, prohibiting government officials from having foreign bank accounts or owning assets abroad, Duma member Valery Trapeznikov from the ruling United Russia party said on Wednesday.
“The core aim of the bill is that government officials of all levels, from municipality officers to the country’s prime minister or president, will be not allowed to have real estate abroad or open accounts in foreign banks,” Trapeznikov, one of the authors of the bill, told RIA Novosti.
He also said the ban would also apply to government officials’ spouses, but there could be some exceptions, for example to allow a state official to pay for medical treatment abroad. If the Duma, Russia’s lower house of parliament, approves the bill this autumn, it could come into force from 2013, he said.
Those caught breaking the law in future could be punished by a five million ruble ($154,656) fine or even five years in prison, Trapeznikov added.
“I think such penalties will be adjudged only in extreme cases, as a governor or any other government official is unlikely to risk their reputation,” he said.
If a government official receives an inheritance in the form of a house or apartment in a foreign states, they will be obliged to sell it within a year and then transfer the money from the deal to a Russian bank, Trapeznikov added.