News / Europe

Russian Officials Have 3 Months to Ditch Foreign Bank Accounts

FILE - Kremlin's Chief of Staff Sergei Ivanov during a meeting in Moscow, Dec. 9, 2012.
FILE - Kremlin's Chief of Staff Sergei Ivanov during a meeting in Moscow, Dec. 9, 2012.
Russian officials have until July 1 to get rid of financial assets abroad as part of President Vladimir Putin's campaign to stem corruption and capital flight, his chief of staff said on Tuesday.

Sergei Ivanov, held a rare Kremlin news conference to announce measures related to a drive to "de-offshore" the Russian economy - a term used by Putin in the first state of the nation speech of his new term last year.

Russia ranked 133rd out of 174 states in Transparency International's 2012 Corruption Perception Index. Its central bank chief said in February that almost $50 billion was sent abroad illegally last year.

Putin had signed two decrees designed to accompany legislation he submitted to parliament in February, which would bar many officials and state company executives from holding bank accounts, stocks and other financial instruments abroad, Ivanov said.

"If a person has foreign accounts today, we are giving him three months to get rid of these accounts," he said.

The bill Putin submitted to parliament was softer than one initiated within the legislature, which would have forbade officials from owning property abroad. Putin's bill also would allow officials to open foreign accounts through Russian banks.

Ivanov dismissed suspicion among critics who suspect the measures are mainly aimed more at bolstering Putin's image by portraying him as taking tough action to rein in a ruling elite, which many Russians see as corrupt.

"The fight against corruption is no public relations campaign or attempt to draw attention away from serious problems, it is a long war," Ivanov said.

He said corruption "discredits the authorities," likening it to a "rust that eats away at the very foundations of statehood and public morals."

The campaign to bring money back to the motherland fits in with Putin's appeals for patriotism since he started a third term last May. He has also played to nostalgia for the Soviet era, when officials were afraid to flaunt what wealth they had.

It comes at a time of heightened tension between Russia and the West, fueled in part by anti-American rhetoric in the ruling United Russia party and persistent pressure on foreign-funded advocacy groups in Russia.

You May Like

Isolation, Despair Weigh on Refugees in Remote German Camp

Refugees resettled near village of Holzdorf deep in German forestland say there is limited interaction with public, mutual feelings of distrust

Britons Divided Over Bombing IS

Surveys show Europeans generally support more military action against Islamic State militants, but sizable opposition exists in Britain

Russia Blacklists Soros Foundations as 'Undesirable'

Russian officials add Soros groups to a list of foreign and international organizations banned from giving grants to Russian partners

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
by: Gennady from: Russia, Volga Region
April 02, 2013 9:54 PM
It was Mr Navalny who had been the first to launch widely supported campaign against corruption in Russia. Now Navalny is silenced by numerous charges and as if has disappeared from public eyes. But as by a miracle, help and support for Navalny’s initiated campaign comes from the FSB regime itself –from lips of a FSB general Sergey Ivanov, Mr. Putin’s chief of staff. After long 12 years delay !!! the regime “decided” to stem corruption. But I will predict what will happen with the new campaign. Absolutely nothing! All foreign bank accounts will be transferred to wives, children, girl-friends and other relatives. Everybody has already watched such “storms in a glass of water” many times.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
With HIV, Can We Get to Zero?i
Carol Pearson
November 29, 2015 1:23 PM
The theme of this year's World AIDS Day is "Getting to Zero." The U.N. says new HIV infections have been reduced by 35 percent since 2000 and AIDS-related deaths are down by 42 percent since the peak in 2004. VOA's Carol Pearson takes a look at what it might take to actually have an AIDS-free generation.

Video With HIV, Can We Get to Zero?

The theme of this year's World AIDS Day is "Getting to Zero." The U.N. says new HIV infections have been reduced by 35 percent since 2000 and AIDS-related deaths are down by 42 percent since the peak in 2004. VOA's Carol Pearson takes a look at what it might take to actually have an AIDS-free generation.

Video Political Motives Seen Behind Cancelled Cambodian Water Festival

For the fourth time in the five years since more than 350 people were killed in a stampede at Cambodia’s annual water festival, authorities canceled the event this year. Officials blamed environmental reasons as the cause, but many see it as fallout from rising political tensions with a fresh wave of ruling party intimidation against the opposition. David Boyle and Kimlong Meng report from Phnom Penh.

Video African Circus Gives At-Risk Youth a 2nd Chance

Ethiopia hosted the first African Circus Arts Festival this past weekend with performers from seven different African countries. Most of the performers are youngsters coming form challenging backgrounds who say the circus gave them a second chance.

Video US Lawmakers Brace for End-of-Year Battles

U.S. lawmakers are returning to Washington for Congress’ final working weeks of the year. And, as VOA's Michael Bowman reports, a full slate of legislative business awaits them, from keeping the federal government open to resolving a battle with the White House over the admittance of Syrian refugees.

Video Taiwan Looks for Role in South China Sea Dispute

The Taiwanese government is one of several that claims territory in the hotly contested South China Sea, but Taipei has long been sidelined in the dispute, overshadowed by China. Now, as the Philippines challenges Beijing’s claims in an international court at The Hague, Taipei is looking to publicly assert its claims. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.

Video After Terrorist Attacks, Support for Refugees Fades

The terrorists who killed and injured almost 500 people around Paris this month are mostly French or Belgian nationals. But at least two apparently took advantage of Europe’s migrant crisis to sneak into the region. The discovery has hardened views about legitimate refugees, including those fleeing the same extremist violence that hit the French capital. Lisa Bryant has this report for VOA from the Paris suburb of Cergy-Pontoise

Video Syrian Refugees in US Express Concern for Those Left Behind

Syrian immigrants in the United States are concerned about the negative tide of public opinion and the politicians who want to block a U.S. plan to accept 10,000 Syrian refugees. Zlatica Hoke reports many Americans are fighting to dispel suspicions linking refugees to terrorists.

Video Thais Send Security Concerns Down the River

As Thailand takes in the annual Loy Krathong festival, many ponder the country’s future and security. Steve Sandford reports from Chiang Mai.

Video Islamic State Unfazed by Losses in Iraq, Syria

Progress in the U.S.-led effort to beat Islamic State on its home turf in Iraq and Syria has led some to speculate the terror group may be growing desperate. But counterterror officials say that is not the case, and warn the recent spate of terror attacks is merely part of the group’s evolution. VOA National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more.

Video Belgium-Germany Border Remains Porous, Even As Manhunt For Paris Attacker Continues

One of the suspected gunmen in the Nov. 13 Paris attacks, Salah Abdeslam, evaded law enforcement, made his way to Belgium, and is now believed to have fled to Germany. VOA correspondent Ayesha Tanzeem makes the journey across the border from Belgium into Germany to see how porous the borders really are.

Video US, Cambodian Navies Pair Up in Gulf of Thailand

The U.S. Navy has deployed one of its newest and most advanced ships to Cambodia to conduct joint training drills in the Gulf of Thailand. Riding hull-to-hull with Cambodian ships, the seamen of the USS Fort Worth are executing joint-training drills that will help build relations in Southeast Asia. David Boyle reports for VOA from Preah Sihanouk province.

Video Uncertain Future for Syrian Refugee Resettlement in Illinois

For the trickle of Syrian refugees finding new homes in the Midwest city of Chicago, the call to end resettlement in many U.S. states is adding another dimension to their long journey fleeing war. Organizations working to help them integrate say the backlash since the Paris attacks is both harming and helping their efforts to provide refugees sanctuary. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.

VOA Blogs