Investigators have handed over information about Russian opposition lawmaker Gennady Gudkov’s alleged involvement in illegal business dealings to parliament and prosecutors, a spokesman for the Russian Investigative Committee said on Monday.
“Information about lawmaker Gennady Gudkov’s failure to comply with [legal] prohibitions and restrictions, which was received during a probe, has been turned over to the State Duma and the Prosecutor General’s Office,” Vladimir Markin said.
The Investigative Committee launched an inquiry into allegations about Gudkov’s involvement in illegal business activities with Russian commercial organizations and foreign companies earlier this month. The Bulgaria-registered English Village and the Business Consultancy Limited, registered in the offshore zone of Gibraltar, were among the companies that came under scrutiny.
Investigators believe Gudkov has violated Russian laws imposing restrictions om lawmakers’ business activities.
Gudkov, a deputy with the A Just Russia party and one of the best-known leaders of the recent opposition protests in Russia, has consistently denied running a business in Bulgaria. “I was not personally involved in commercial activities, especially in Bulgaria," Gudkov told RIA Novosti. "My only investment in that country is buying beer and paying for a ride in an amusement park." Gudkov insists that the probe against him is politically motivated.
Analysts have speculated about whether the authorities intend to launch a criminal case against Gudkov, and the Investigation Committee’s latest move may signal preparation for one. But to do so, prosecutors will first need the State Duma to strip the lawmaker of his immunity.
The leader of the pro-Kremlin United Russia party’s parliamentary faction said last week his faction was ready to support the move.
“If investigators reveal components of crime in Gudkov’s activities, the [United Russia] faction will vote to strip him of lawmaker’s immunity,” Andrei Vorobyov said.
Gudkov said on Monday he was “sure” that he would be stripped of immunity.
“The [authorities’] goal now is to make everyone feel afraid,” he told RIA Novosti.
In recent weeks the deputy has complained that the authorities have been putting pressure on members of his family since he became an outspoken critic of the Kremlin. Earlier this month, Gudkov told RIA Novosti that police officers tried to detain his wife Maria Gudkova for questioning as she stepped from a plane at Moscow’s Domodedovo Airport. Last month, Moscow police also asked a court to strip a private security firm, Pantan, controlled by Gudkov’s relatives, of its license.