Russia’s Foreign Accounts Ban Bill Passes 2nd Reading

MOSCOW, April 19 (RIA Novosti) – Russian lawmakers passed a bill in the second reading on Friday expanding the list of prohibited foreign assets for government officials.

In mid-February, President Vladimir Putin submitted a bill to Russia’s lower house of parliament, the State Duma, prohibiting Russian officials from holding bank accounts abroad or owning foreign-issued shares and bonds. The bill came as part of Putin’s much touted anti-corruption drive.

The bill was amended in its second reading to extend the ban to all foreign securities, including travel checks. Government officials are also banned from holding any valuables, including precious metals with foreign banks and cannot transfer foreign financial instruments for trust management.

After the bill becomes law after being signed by President Putin, government officials will have three months to close their foreign accounts and transfer their funds to Russia or quit their government posts.

The bill, however, allows state officials to have property abroad, which they have to declare as well as explaining the sources of the income used to buy such acquisitions.

The issue of Russian state officials owning property abroad has come under the spotlight recently, with several of them resigning after it emerged that they owned undeclared real estate overseas.

Russia ranked 133rd of 174 countries in the latest Corruption Perceptions Index by the Transparency International watchdog, alongside Iran, Kazakhstan and Honduras. Corruption has been cited by the goverment itself as one of the principal threats to Russia’s national security.


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