MOSCOW, April 10 (RIA Novosti) – The punishment for those found guilty of corruption should be as severe as for treason, Kirill Kabanov, head of Russia's National Anti-Corruption Committee independent watchdog said on Wednesday.
“We believe the penalty for corrupt activities should be equal to that in place for treason,” said Kabanov, who is also director of the presidential council’s commission on human rights. He made the comments while presenting a report by the National Anti-Corruption Committee titled “Corruption in Russia: Time to Take Decisive Action.”
Kabanov said the fines for those found guilty of accepting bribes have not proved effective.
“In practice, the system of fines plus legal penalties has not worked,” he said.
Studies indicate that bribes in Russia average 300,000 rubles ($10,000), Senator Alexander Savenkov said at a press conference in Moscow on Monday.
Under the Russian Criminal Code, treason is punishable by 12 to 20 years in prison, along with a fine of up to 500,000 rubles ($16,000).
The Transparency International global watchdog estimated the cost of corruption in Russia at $300 billion in 2012, placing Russia 133rd out of 174 countries in its Corruption Perceptions Index last year.
Last fall the Kremlin launched an anti-corruption campaign, promising to limit the right of legislators and state officials to own assets abroad, purging several lawmakers over allegations of illegal business activity and implicating then-Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov in a large-scale corruption case. Serdyukov however has not been charged, and the law on officials' foreign assets has yet to be enacted.