Legislators Propose Longer Prison Terms for Corruption

MOSCOW, June 7 (RAPSI) – The head of the Russian parliament’s anticorruption committee has put forward a bill increasing the punishment for corruption and misappropriation of government funds, she said on Friday.

The bill also defines a “crime of corruption,” committee head Irina Yarovaya said. Currently, a corrupt individual may be taken to court for fraud, but there has not previously been a specific notion of corruption in Russian legislation.

The bill also adds a specific article to the Criminal Code on misappropriation of federal budget funds, extra-budgetary funds, and the funds of state companies and corporations.

The initiative calls for punishing individuals convicted of these crimes with five years compulsory labor, or up to seven years in prison, in addition to a fine of up to 500,000 rubles ($15,600).

If a crime also involves abuse of office, a state or municipal contract, a state defense contract, or if a major sum has been embezzled, the prison term may be extended from seven to 12 years, and the fine increased to 3 million rubles (around $93,000). For cases concerning embezzlement on a very large scale, offenders face eight to 15 years in prison and a fine of 3-5 million rubles ($93,750-$156,000).

The Russian government has been campaigning for years to stamp out corruption, but with little apparent success. The number of corruption-related crimes recorded in Russia rose by almost 25 percent in 2012, according to a report by the Prosecutor General’s Office submitted to parliament in April.

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