The lower house of the Russian parliament passed a bill on Wednesday to ban holding suspects of economic crimes in pretrial detention.
The bill says that a suspect can be bailed out "at any time during legal proceedings," with a minimum bail charge of 100,000 rubles ($3,300) and 500,000 rubles ($16,600) for serious crimes.
It also raised fines for tax dodgers, setting sums of 3 million rubles for gross tax evasion and 36 million rubles for tax evasion on an especially large scale.
The Russian government has moved to mitigate legislation on economic crimes. A law banning confinement for suspected tax dodgers came into force in January 2010. Suspects who face tax evasion charges for the first time or paid their arrears will now be able to avoid prosecution.
Mikhail Khodorkovsky, the founder of the now-defunct Yukos oil firm and once Russia's richest man, who is in prison on large-scale fraud and tax evasion charges, was denied bail in 2003 and was tried behind closed doors, triggering accusations in Russia and abroad of a politically motivated trial.
MOSCOW, March 24 (RIA Novosti)
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