MP Ponomaryov stripped of immunity over alleged embezzlement at Skolkovo
MOSCOW, April 7 (RAPSI) - Russia's lower house of parliament, the State Duma, voted to strip lawmaker Ilya Ponomaryov of immunity over embezzlement at state-owned innovation hub Skolkovo, RIA Novosti reported on Tuesday.
The application was approved with 438 of the 440 lawmakers present voting in favor, 1 against and 1 abstaining.
Ponomaryov, who was expelled from A Just Russia, wrote last week on his Facebook page that the Prosecutor General’s Office had asked the State Duma to strip him of his parliamentary immunity.
House Speaker Sergei Naryshkin confirmed later that the request of the Prosecutor General’s Office was linked with a Skolkovo embezzlement case.
Skolkovo filed a lawsuit to force Ponomaryov to repay the 9 million rubles he had received for lectures he was contracted to provide.
Skolkovo claimed that only one of the contracted 10 lectures was of any reputable academic value, and that he had not delivered the remaining nine lectures.
Ponomaryov argued that the bulk of the money had been spent on technical expenses and that he had only kept a tiny part of the sum.
In August 2013, Moscow's Gagarinsky District Court ordered Ponomaryov to pay 2.7 million rubles to the Skolkovo Foundation for an unreasonably overpriced service. The Moscow City Court upheld the ruling in November.
The Skolkovo Foundation, set up in 2010 by then President Dmitry Medvedev, is the primary agency for the Skolkovo high-tech development hub, which includes a business center, a science and technology institute and a management school.