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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Deputy Accused of Reneging on $33Mln Loan

The State Duma’s ethics commission has been asked to get involved in a $33 million case after a deputy with the Liberal Democratic Party was accused of using his immunity to get out of paying back a loan.

Nomos-Bank has asked the commission's head, Alexander Gurov, to “take measures” against Vladimir Seleznev, whose company supposedly borrowed the money in 2007. A copy of the bank's letter to Gurov was obtained by Vedomosti.

The bank claims that Otechestvo, which listed Seleznev as the founder at the time, raised the loan for a real estate project in Vladivostok.

In 2008, the loan was transferred to Federatsiya, headed by Yu. V. Tolmacheva, who, the bank says, is “de facto controlled by Seleznev.”

Vedomosti sources said the committee requested information from the Primorye police, as well as the Prosecutor General's Office.

Gurov refused to comment on the case before the probe is finished, noting that Duma deputies are often falsely accused of wrongdoing. Seleznev also claims to have been attacked by unspecified authorities in the Far East for political reasons.

Seleznev said he had transferred his business to management companies after becoming a deputy, as the law requires, and was not in a position to sign contracts as a legal entity.

Financial disputes should be settled in court, Seleznev said. Vedomosti sources close to Nomos-Bank management said the bank had already collected $45 million from Otechestvo in the Moscow Arbitration Court, although a lawsuit against Federatsiya was dismissed.

A source close to the Primorye administration said the issue was a business dispute. Officials often abuse their privileges for economic gain, said Yevgeny Minchenko, a political scientist.

Minchenko did not rule out a political conflict, however. Seleznev has recently been making frequent appearances in the media, which could have angered Vladimir Zhirinovsky, the flamboyant leader of the Liberal Democratic Party.