MOSCOW, April 30 (RIA Novosti) – Russian billionaire senator Suleiman Kerimov has transferred his business assets to a charity fund to allow him to continue working in the Russian parliament and comply with new legislation prohibiting officials from holding bank accounts abroad or owning foreign-issued securities, Kerimov’s aide said on Tuesday.
“Kerimov made a decision the other day to transfer beneficiary rights to his business assets to his charity fund, the Suleiman Kerimov Foundation,” Alexei Krasovsky said.
When Kerimov was elected to the Federation Council, the upper chamber of Russia’s parliament, from the North Caucasus republic of Dagestan, he gave up business and transferred his business assets to trust companies, including trust funds operating in foreign jurisdictions, Krasovsky said.
Kerimov decided to transfer his assets to a charity fund so that there could be “no questions” about his status in the wake of the new foreign accounts ban legislation, Krasovsky told RIA Novosti.
Although the Kerimov charity fund was registered in Switzerland, it has focused on charity on Russia, implementing large-scale projects in education, medicine, culture and social activity, Krasovsky said.
A bill banning Russian public officials, lawmakers and judges from having foreign bank accounts or holding stocks or bonds abroad was passed by the State Duma, the lower house of Russia's parliament, on April 24 and appoved by the upper house on April 27.
After President Vladimir Putin signs the bill into law, government officials, lawmakers and other civil servants will have three months to close any foreign accounts and transfer their funds to Russia or quit their government posts.
In mid-February, Putin submitted the bill to the State Duma as part of the Kremlin’s much touted anti-corruption drive.
The bill was amended in its second reading to extend the ban to all foreign securities, including traveler’s checks. State and government officials are also banned from holding any valuables – including precious metals – in foreign banks, and cannot use foreign financial instruments for trust management.
The bill does, however, allow state officials to own property abroad, on the condition they declare it and explain the sources of the income used to buy it.
Kerimov is listed by Forbes magazine as Russia's 20th richest man.