Russian Officials Allowed to Buy Out Expensive Gifts

MOSCOW, January 10 (RIA Novosti) – Russian officials, who are banned from accepting expensive presents as part of the country’s anti-corruption drive, will now have a chance to buy them out under a new government regulation.

Under the new rules, officials will be required to declare within three days any gifts they receive at official events and on business trips. Those gifts must be appraised by experts for their market value, and any worth over 3,000 rubles ($90) will be judged to be federal property.

Officials will be able to buy back expensive presents given to them if they apply within two months. Otherwise, the gifts may be sold at auction, donated to a charity or destroyed if they are considered useless.

Those officials who fail to comply with the rules face a possible reprimand or can be even sacked, according to regulation.

The rules apply to all government officials, governors, mayors, Russian lawmakers, judges, staff members of the Central Bank, the Pension Fund, and state corporations including energy giant Gazprom.

Despite a recent high profile anti-corruption campaign, even government officials admit that billions of dollars are paid in bribes in Russia every year and that graft remains an endemic problem.

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