Russian Opposition Lawmaker May Be Charged for Illegal Business

Russia’s Investigative Committee said it has evidence of “illegal business activity” by Gennady Gudkov, a lawmaker in the opposition Just Russia party.

The authorities may open a criminal case against Gudkov on charges that carry a maximum penalty of two years based on the results of its probe, it said on its website today.

President Vladimir Putin, 59, who won another six years in the Kremlin in March, has responded to the largest demonstrations since he came to power in 2000 by tightening controls over the Internet and non-governmental organizations and prosecuting opposition activists and leaders.

Gudkov, a reserve colonel at the Federal Security Service, or FSB, the main successor to the Soviet-era KGB, in June announced he was selling his private security business after it came under pressure from the authorities. He didn’t answer calls to his work or mobile phones from Bloomberg seeking comment.

When the first accusations were made by the Investigative Committee in June, Gudkov said on his blog that they amounted to a “new provocation taken against me as an active member of the protest movement.”

Investigators established that Gudkov, who is also a deputy head of the lower house of parliament’s security committee, illegally engaged in business in Russia and was linked to companies registered in Bulgaria and Gibraltar, according to the statement.

To contact the reporters on this story: Henry Meyer in Moscow at hmeyer4@bloomberg.net; Ilya Arkhipov in Moscow at iarkhipov@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Balazs Penz at bpenz@bloomberg.net

Press spacebar to pause and continue. Press esc to stop.

Bloomberg reserves the right to remove comments but is under no obligation to do so, or to explain individual moderation decisions.

Please enable JavaScript to view the comments powered by Disqus.