Controversial Russian lawmaker keeps his parliamentary immunity
MOSCOW, February 7 (RAPSI) – Russia’s Prosecutor General’s Office has refused to grant a request filed by the Investigative Committee to strip controversial State Duma lawmaker Alexei Mitrofanov of his parliamentary immunity, Kommersant newspaper writes on Friday.
The prosecutor’s office said there was no incriminating evidence against the MP.
In January 2013, committee head Alexander Bastrykin asked Prosecutor General Yury Chaika to forward the materials available to the committee to the State Duma to strip Mitrofanov, head of the State Duma Committee for the Media, of parliamentary immunity.
The investigators planned to question and possibly charge the MP in a $200,000 fraud case involving Vyacheslav Zharov, co-founder of developer Arktur-Stroy.
The Investigative Committee wrote that it had evidence of Mitrofanov’s involvement in a crime that is defined in the Criminal Code as “attempted fraud as a member of a criminal group,” and that two of his alleged accomplices had already been given prison sentences.
In 2007, Arktur-Stroy borrowed $48 million from Russian Commercial Bank (RBC) to build a residential complex in Moscow. But the project was stalled because of a conflict between Arktur-Stroy and its partner, by which time half of the non-existent apartments had been sold.
Zharov decided to withdraw from the partnership and demanded 113 million rubles ($3.36 million) for his stake in the company. A commercial court granted his request in 2010, but Arktur-Stroy management filed an appeal against the ruling. RBC, which had merged with Gazprombank, then demanded that Zharov repay the loan.
Mitrofanov’s aide Alexander Derevshchikov and his accomplice, Rashid Sautiyev, told Zharov they would help him for $200,000 (RUB 2.3 million). Both men were detained on May 12, 2012 in a hotel room where the businessman was handing over part of the amount.
Mitrofanov, who was present at the meeting, was released because he didn’t take a direct part in the negotiations and also because he enjoyed parliamentary immunity, the investigators said.
In August 2013, the Meshchansky District Court of Moscow found Derevshchikov guilty of attempted fraud and sentenced him to two years in prison. Several days before that, Sautiyev was sentenced to three years’ imprisonment and fined 500,000 rubles (over $14,000).