Putin bans officials from owning foreign assets through third parties

Putin bans officials from owning foreign assets through third parties
Vladimir Putin

The Russian President signed a law reinforcing the fight against corruption.

Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a law that gives a new, more precise definition of the term "foreign financial instruments." The law bans MPs, officials and law enforcement officers from owning foreign assets, including owning them through third parties or trust. The document was published on the official governmental legal website.

The document is meant to help implementation of the National Anti-Corruption Plan. It applies to all categories of citizens, who are now not allowed to have accounts abroad. It makes amendments to a number of federal laws that contain provisions banning certain persons from owning and using foreign financial instruments (FFI). In particular, the amendments determine that the term used in the document, Foreign Financial Instruments, is applied in the sense of the law prohibiting government officials to have accounts and deposits abroad. The law also specifies the categories of foreign financial instruments that fall under the prohibition. For instance, the FFIs are partnership interest and participation shares in the capital of companies located or registered abroad.

As regards third parties, they can be former spouses and other authorized persons, provided that the person actually profiting from the foreign assets is the official himself/herself or his/her close relative.

Of course, despite the tightening step against corruption, officials and deputies find ways to hide their accounts. MPs and officials use bogus divorces to avoid declaring their income or property. Conveying service-unrelated businesses and property of doubtful provenance to a spouse and executing fictitious divorces have become a relief for many officials.

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