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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Duma Approves Bill to Create Economic Development Bank

The State Duma backed on Friday the creation of a state-owned development bank with a capital of 70 billion rubles ($2.72 billion).

The bank, which will be created on the basis of state debt and pension fund manager Vneshekonombank, will finance infrastructure projects as the country seeks to boost economic growth and diversify its economy away from oil and gas sectors.

Economic Development and Trade Minister German Gref said earlier that the bank's capital would reach 0.5 percent of gross domestic product or $7.6 billion in 2010.

Russia already has a budget investment fund, which is forecast to receive funds totaling $12 billion over the next three years, and a venture fund.

Also Friday, the Duma gave directions to the Audit Chamber to audit the financial activities of the Central Bank in the period from 2004 to 2006, Itar-Tass reported.

The check comes by request of the National Banking Council, which is headed by Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin. The Audit Chamber is due to report back to the Duma with its findings by the end of the year.

The Audit Chamber can carry out checks into the Central Bank's financial activities after the Duma has approved a National Banking Council request to do so.

Reuters, MT