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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Securities Watchdog Will Stay At His Post

The head of Russia's Federal Securities Commission, which was recently downgraded in a government reorganization, said Tuesday he would stay on as the head of the new agency that has been created, while a senior Russian lawmaker signalled support for the beleaguered securities watchdog.

Dmitry Vasiliyev, former head of the FSC -- which had ministerial status -- and currently acting chairman of a new state committee for the securities markets, dispelled recent rumors in the Russian media that he may resign his post and said he has "no intention of leaving public service."

"I will continue to carry out the functions determined by the president and government for me," Vasiliyev told a press conference.

Vasiliyev declined to comment on the Aug. 14 presidential decree that transformed the FSC from an independent body reporting directly to President Boris Yeltsin into a state committee overseen by deputy premier and finance minister Alexander Livshits.

The decree has alarmed many Western investors, who fear the reduction in status will impede the independence and effectiveness of the regulatory agency.

Vasiliyev sidestepped questions about his panel's new status. "It is hard to give an evaluation ... I have no authority to comment on presidential decrees," he said.

"When the president issues a decree we comply with it. So, we comply with this decree," he said. But he also hinted that another, corrective, presidential decree could be in the offing.

Vasiliev said he expects to meet soon with Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin and Livshits to discuss the committee's "new tasks."

Meanwhile Vasily Mukha, the head of the Novosibirsk regional administration and a deputy of the Federation Council, indicated that lawmakers in the parliament's upper chamber would be prepared to support Vasiliyev in defending the independence of the commission.

"We passed a law in May ... whereby the commission is directly subordinate to the president," Mukha said, adding that the Aug. 14 decree "effectively bypasses this law."

On Monday a deputy from the State Duma's securities markets subcommittee said it would demand an explanation from the president's office concerning the decree.

Vasiliyev and Mukha addressed a joint press conference to mark the first licensing this week of an electronic clearing house for promissory notes.

The license was issued to a Novosibirsk-based operator, backed by the Siberian Agreement, a powerful association of 19 Siberian regions, and marked a first tentative move toward a countrywide system of such clearing houses, officials said.

"We have dared to be the trailblazers to create a model for the entire country," said Vladimir Ivankov, director general of the Siberian Agreement's board.

Mukha suggested that the deputies may address Yeltsin to "decide with the president that it is necessary to return to the fulfillment of the law that was adopted and that was signed by the president."