Lawmaker sues Transparency International Russia over assets report
MOSCOW, November 15 (RAPSI, Maria Petrova) – Russian State Duma lawmaker Vyacheslav Lysakov has filed a defamation lawsuit against Transparency International Russia, (TI-R) claiming it erred in calculating his assets.
The case is set to go to trial November 19 at Moscow’s Tagansky District Court, its website reports.
The lawmaker is claiming 9 million rubles (over $276,000) in compensation from TI-R, along with the Vedomosti newspaper and Forbes magazine which ran articles on the report.
The dispute arise from the report titled ”Questions to the lawmakers: 2013” which was released in July. The report was focused on the growth of assets owned by Russian lawmakers and their families’ in 2012, as compared with 2011. After it had been released, Lysakov filed a lawsuit against TI-R seeking a refutation. The lawmaker vows that the cost of his automobile as well as his wife’s flat were overstated, which was confirmed by the documents he provided.
TI-R Director Elena Panfilova said that the report does not blame anyone for wrongdoing. It merely indicates certain alleged discrepancies in the assets declarations, Panfilova said. She added that the documents provided by Lysakov discard any further questions concerning the origin of the assets.
President Vladimir Putin signed a number of decrees in April to help implement laws obliging state officials to declare their incomes and expenditures. Those decrees oblige state officials to submit information concerning their acquisition of real estate, land, cars, valuables and shares and explain the sources of the income used to finance such acquisitions.
Putin also signed into law a bill in May that bans Russian officials from keeping their money in foreign banks, but allows them to own property abroad, which must be declared along with a statement explaining the funding sources for these acquisitions.
There is a commission within the Duma dealing with the reliability of data on lawmakers' incomes and assets.
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 government itself as one of the principal threats to Russia's national security.