Going through the motions – Part 2

President Dmitry Medvedev has issued a Decree, published on 12 January 2012, instructing First Deputy Prime Minister Viktor Zubkov to head a new grouping to counter crimes such as money-laundering.

Zubkov himself claimed in December that Russia was leading the way in tackling money-laundering.

Given the need to form the new body, this would appear a slight exaggeration. Moreover, given Russia’s failure to ratify Article 20 of the United Nations Convention against Corruption, it would appear another meaningless and empty gesture aimed at hoodwinking the public and foreign observers. Article 20 of the convention stipulates the following obligation for each state party that signs up to the UN Convention in full:

“Each state party shall adopt such legislative and other measures as may be necessary to establish as a criminal offence, when committed intentionally, illicit enrichment, that is, a significant increase in the assets of a public official that he or she cannot reasonably explain in relation to his or her lawful income.”

In other words, the authorities are ready to prevent money-laundering committed by companies, but prefer not to take any action when officials illicitly enrich themselves, buying vast properties in the UK, France, Germany, Switzerland, on salaries that do not afford such largesse.

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