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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

News in Brief

Presidential Immunity

The Associated Press

The State Duma gave initial approval Wednesday to a bill offering former presidents immunity from criminal prosecution for actions during their tenure, despite objections that the measure is unconstitutional. The bill also says former presidents’ offices cannot be searched and their documents cannot be perused.

The government-proposed bill parallels the main provisions of a decree signed by President Vladimir Putin shortly after Boris Yeltsin’s resignation.

"No reasonable politician would try to get immunity guarantees if he doesn’t intend to break the law," said Communist Anatoly Lukyanov, chief of the Duma’s committee for state legal affairs.




Pope Case Wraps Up

The Associated Press

Prosecutors Wednesday demanded the maximum sentence of 20 years in prison and a multimillion-dollar penalty for accused U.S. spy Edmond Pope, the defendant’s lawyer said.

Prosecutor Yury Volgin called on the judge to sentence Pope to 20 years and also called for the defendant to pay 7 billion rubles ($250 million) in damages for harming Russia’s defense industry, lawyer Pavel Astakhov told reporters.

Astakhov said Volgin’s closing statement claimed that "investigators managed to uncover a Trojan horse of the American secret services." He said the damage claim was illegal because prosecutors did not explain how they arrived at the astronomical figure.




Borodin Complaint

The Associated Press

GENEVA — Former Kremlin aide Pavel Borodin has lodged an official complaint with Swiss authorities over the way an investigation into alleged high-level corruption has been carried out, the Geneva state prosecutor said Wednesday.

Bernard Bertossa said the complaint was against persons unknown, but he "supposed" it was directed at himself and investigating magistrate Daniel Devaud. He said it accused Swiss investigators of violating professional secrecy by revealing details of the case to the media.




Metals Regulation

Reuters

Russia should set up a body to regulate exports of rare minor metals, the chief of a federal industrial crimes unit was reported as saying Wednesday.

Russia loses at least $50 million a year from the illegal export of minor metals such as rhenium, cadmium, caesium, yttrium and niobium, said Nikolai Bobov, of the Interior Ministry’s economic crimes department.

He called for setting up an institute of special exports along the lines of the Industry Ministry.




Ufa Memorial Ruined

The Associated Press

Scavengers ruined a monument to victims of political repressions days after its unveiling upon failing to find any non-ferrous metals in it, a news report said Wednesday.

The Stele of Grief, built using city funds and private donations, was unveiled in Ufa on Saturday, Interfax said. In front of the tall granite monument was a sculpture of a woman and child. The figure was meant to be cast in bronze, but since the artist had no time to finish it, a temporary copy made of bronze-colored plaster was erected.

Metal thieves apparently got angry and smashed the whole memorial composition to pieces, the report said.