MOSCOW, February 19 (RIA Novosti) - The lower chamber of the Russian parliament, the State Duma, voted on Tuesday to strip A Just Russia lawmaker Oleg Mikheyev of parliamentary immunity amid an ongoing fraud investigation.
A total of 297 lawmakers voted in favor, 59 voted against, and four abstained. A minimum of 226 votes were required to pass the decision.
Mikheyev is suspected of being involved in real estate fraud and trying to embezzle 2.1 billion rubles ($69 million) from Promsvyazbank.
A first deputy chairman of the Russian Investigative Committee, Valery Pisarev, said on Tuesday the case against Mikheyev was based on the fact that “the process of applying for bank loans had been based on fake documents.”
During the State Duma debate on Mikheyev’s parliamentary immunity, other members of his party asked prosecutors why the lawmaker has never been summoned to give his testimony, though he was willing to cooperate with the investigation.
Russian First Deputy Prosecutor General Alexander Buksman said Mikheyev, on the contrary, filed complaints about being summoned for questioning as a witness, citing his immunity.
“I personally considered those complaints and replied to him in January. There were quite a few of them,” Buksman said.
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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.