Going through the motions – again…

The New York Times posted an interesting piece on 12 February on alleged attempts by President Putin to force Russian officials to bring their cash back home entitled Russia May Restrict Investing Abroad

Putin has submitted a draft law to parliament, which will naturally be adopted by the servile members of the State Duma. According to the law, all top state officials, including in government, their spouses and young children (what young means is not defined at present) will be expected to close down any bank accounts or shares held outside Russia.

The apparent goal is to crack down on corruption – however, it would appear more likely to be another way of pressurising officials at all levels to toe the party line and also make them share more the backhanders that they receive with other senior officials.

Furthermore, the law has loopholes – surprise, surprise – officials can as in the past retain money in foreign accounts linked to offshore companies that will not be accessible by the ban or by using the names of proxies and friends – a measure that has, by the way, proved quiet handy for UK businessmen seeking to avoid paying high rates of tax in the UK.

So this would appear to be another measure aimed at appeasing public anger over the high levels of corruption in Russia, while at the same time leveraging more control over officials and inevitably increasing corruption levels, as they seek to offset the cost of sharing their illegal earnings with other government figures now aware of the scale of their theft.


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