Federal Law of 6 March 2022 No. 44-FZ “On Amendments to article 26 of the Federal Law “On Banks and Banking Activity” and the Federal Law “On Countering Corruption” adds article 8.2 on control over the legal receipt of money to Federal Law of 25 December 208 No. 273 “On Countering Corruption”.
According to this article, if the individuals responsible for verifying the accuracy and completeness of information about income, expenses, property and property-related obligations of servants (employees) detect the facts of transfer of money exceeding the total income of the declarant, his/her spouse and minor children for the three preceding years to their bank accounts and accounts in other credit institutions, they shall ask the official to prove the legal origin of the assets.
If the official fails to provide such evidence or provides false information about their origin, this information will be forwarded to the prosecuting authorities. Upon the receipt of relevant materials prosecutors can:
- within the period of four months since the receipt of the abovementioned information, file a claim requesting to forfeit, in monetary terms, the part of the assets whose legal origin was not proved (if the amount of the assets forfeited exceeds 10,000 RUB or roughly 96 USD), or
- within ten days since their arrival, launch the procedure to verify the legal origin of the assets; this verification procedure can be initiated also with regard to former officials but within six months since his/her dismissal.
If the prosecuting authorities decide to conduct the verification procedure, the official is entitled to provide explanations and additional materials about the sources of the assets, as well as to make a request to have an interview with a prosecutor, which must be satisfied. The prosecuting authorities, on their side, can ask both the official and other natural persons to provide necessary clarifications, as well as ask public authorities, local government bodies, civil society entities and other organisations to provide information about income, property and property-related obligations of the declarant, his/her spouse and minor children and the sources of other monies transferred to their accounts. These requests to the bodies and organisations can be made by the Prosecutor General, his deputies, the prosecutors of the Russian regions, and military and other specialised prosecutors equivalent to the prosecutors of the Russian regions.
Upon the conclusion of the verification procedure, which should not exceed four months since the receipt of the materials that gave rise to the verification, the prosecuting authorities can file a claim requesting to forfeit, in monetary terms, the part of the assets whose legal origin was not confirmed (if the amount of the assets forfeited exceeds 10,000 RUB or roughly 96 USD).
These amendments will allow plugging, to a certain extent, the gaps in the legislation regulating the exercise of control over the expenses of public officials. Before the adoption of the legal act, relevant laws had covered only the cases of acquisition by officials of certain assets such as land, other immovable property, vehicles, securities, shares (shares in the registered (aggregate) capital of organisations), digital financial assets and digital currencies without taking into account their bank savings.