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19:35 GMT +3 hours21 December 2014
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Russia

State Officials Should Keep Money in Russia Medvedev

Russia
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Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said on Wednesday that government officials should keep their money in Russian banks.

Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said on Wednesday that government officials should keep their money in Russian banks.

“They should keep the money in their country so they share [financial] risks with it,” Medvedev said.

The Russian State Duma will soon debate a bill, submitted by all four of its party factions, prohibiting government officials from having foreign bank accounts or owning assets abroad.

According to the authors of the bill, the ban would also apply to the spouses of government officials, but there could be some exceptions, for example, to allow a state official to pay for medical treatment abroad. Those caught breaking the law in future could be punished by a 5-million-ruble ($154,656) fine or even five years in prison.

President Vladimir Putin said last week that partial restrictions on the ownership of bank accounts and real estate abroad will help anti-corruption efforts.

If the Duma, Russia's lower house of parliament, approves the bill this fall, it could come into force from 2013.

However, Medvedev opposes banning officials from owning property abroad.

“I don’t think this [ban] will strengthen our state service,” the premier said, adding that government officials should have to declare their income and some expenses.