Russian Lawmaker Faces Fraud Charges

MOSCOW, March 7 (RIA Novosti) – Russian investigators brought fraud charges against a lawmaker from the opposition A Just Russia party on Thursday, just weeks after he was stripped of parliamentary immunity from prosecution.

Oleg Mikheyev is suspected of real estate fraud and attempting to embezzle 2.1 billion rubles ($69 million) from the Promsvyazbank bank, the Investigative Committee said on its website. He denies the charges.

Russia’s State Duma voted to strip Mikheyev of his parliamentary immunity from prosecution on February 19 at the request of the Prosecutor General’s Office.

The charges follow a series of scandals involving State Duma lawmakers, three of whom have quit this year, with widespread speculation in the media of more resignations to come.

The head of the State Duma’s parliamentary ethics committee, Vladimir Pekhtin, gave up his seat last month after anti-corruption blogger and opposition figurehead Alexei Navalny alleged he owned undeclared properties in the United States. Pekhtin said the luxury properties belonged to his son.


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