MOSCOW, March 7 (RIA Novosti) - Russian investigators brought fraud charges against a lawmaker from the opposition A Just Russia party on Thursday, just weeks after he was stripped of parliamentary immunity from prosecution.
Oleg Mikheyev is suspected of real estate fraud and attempting to embezzle 2.1 billion rubles ($69 million) from the Promsvyazbank bank, the Investigative Committee said on its website. He denies the charges.
Russia’s State Duma voted to strip Mikheyev of his parliamentary immunity from prosecution on February 19 at the request of the Prosecutor General’s Office.
The charges follow a series of scandals involving State Duma lawmakers, three of whom have quit this year, with widespread speculation in the media of more resignations to come.
The head of the State Duma’s parliamentary ethics committee, Vladimir Pekhtin, gave up his seat last month after anti-corruption blogger and opposition figurehead Alexei Navalny alleged he owned undeclared properties in the United States. Pekhtin said the luxury properties belonged to his son.
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Some people are trying to make the reality in Russia at least a bit more humane. The amnesty should apply not only to persons involved in high-profile cases, but also to individuals who are not as well-known. It is better to set free at least some of the individuals who deserve to be released than no one at all.