Russian Lawmaker Denies Owning Luxury Property

MOSCOW, March 11 (RIA Novosti) – A senior Russian lawmaker on Monday vehemently denied media reports that she had failed to declare ownership of a luxury apartment in central Moscow.

Irina Yarovaya, the head of the State Duma Security and Anticorruption Committee, who is also a member of the ruling United Russia party, dismissed the allegations that she owns a $2-million apartment she failed to put on her official property declaration as an attempt by her “ill wishers” to ruin her reputation.

“Their efforts have been in vain,” she said.

Her press secretary Oleg Zhdanov earlier told RIA Novosti the apartment in question belonged to Yarovaya’s underage daughter and was not subject to declaration.

He also said the media overstated the apartment’s value, which was in fact “six times lower.”

Yarovaya has thrown her full weight behind pending legislation that will ban all state officials from owning foreign real estate, bank accounts or stock. Russian officials are currently allowed to own property abroad, but it must be declared.

This comes in the wake of a recent controversy around Vladimir Pekhtin, head of the Russian parliament’s Ethics Committee, who gave up his seat on Wednesday amid allegations that he owns undeclared properties in the United States.

Opposition figurehead and anti-corruption activist Alexei Navalny posted documents online last month that he said proved the veteran lawmaker from the ruling United Russia party owned undeclared luxury properties in Miami, Florida, worth over $2 million. Pekhtin said the properties belonged to his son.

More than half of Russians buying property abroad are officials, the RBK daily said in December.


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