Medvedev signs landmark anti-corruption law

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev moved to beef up his image as an anti-corruption crusader on Wednesday as he signed off a bill to raise fines for bribery.

The bill, approved by Russia’s parliament earlier this month, raises fines for giving or taking bribes up to 100 times the amount of the bribe. The maximum fine is 500 million rubles ($18.3 million).

“I hope this law helps fight corruption, the scale of which is horrifying,” Medvedev said in a meeting with Russian Prosecutor General Yury Chaika.

“It is an absolutely new punishment,” the president said. “The spike of state responsibility will be directed at a person’s assets. For some, this will be more important.”

He added however that a jail term remains the “main type of punishment” for palm-greasing.

“There should be no doubt: imprisonment… will continue to be used by courts.”

The number of corruption-related crimes involving top government officials and large bribes increased 100% in 2010 year-on-year, Russian Interior Minister Rashid Nurgaliyev said in January.

Russia is ranked 154th out of 178 countries by Transparency International, while the United States is 19th in the anti-corruption group’s latest Corruption Perception Index.

GORKI, May 4 (RIA Novosti)

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