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Russian Duma approves anti-corruption bill in third reading

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MOSCOW, December 19 (RIA Novosti) - Russia's lower house of parliament, State Duma, passed a president-proposed package of anti-corruption legislation in its third and final reading on Friday.

The anti-corruption bill was submitted to the State Duma on October 3 by Dmitry Medvedev, who since taking office in May has declared tackling corruption a priority.

The bill requires politicians and state officials to make a public declaration of their income, property and assets and that of their spouse and children. In addition officials are required to report all incidents involving possible or actual corrupt activities.

State officials, who resign from their posts, require prior permission, for up to two years to work, at commercial and non-commercial organizations with which they previously had links.

The bill also introduces restrictions on gifts. State officials will only be able to accept gifts worth up to 3,000 rubles ($109), more expensive presents will become state property.

The Russian Criminal-Procedural Code will now have simplified procedures to bring to account judges and other officials suspected of being involved in corrupt practices. And Russian nationals, foreigners and persons without nationality will also be held accountable if involved in corruption cases.

In a survey of senior business executives published in early December by the German-based Transparency International, Russian companies were considered the most likely to engage in bribery abroad.

Over 2,700 senior executives from the world's 22 wealthiest and most economically influential countries were asked how often, in their experience, firms headquartered in particular countries are involved in bribe taking. Russian came 22nd.

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