Putin Orders Officials to Declare Personal Spending

President Vladimir Putin ordered Cabinet members and their families to file personal-spending declarations, stepping up the most far-reaching campaign against corruption of the Russian leader’s 12-year rule.

The measure, which amends existing disclosure requirements, will apply to purchases of real estate, securities and vehicles when the amount spent is more than the family’s annual income for the previous three years, according to a decree published today. The changes, which go into effect on Jan. 1, will apply to transactions by government officials, their spouses and under-age children concluded since Jan. 1, 2012.

The changes, first proposed by then-President Dmitry Medvedev in March, highlight steps to tighten oversight of earnings and spending by officials in Russia, the most corrupt member of the Group of 20 group of advanced economies in Berlin-based Transparency International’s ranking. The move follows Putin’s ouster last month of Anatoly Serdyukov as defense minister, the most senior official felled over graft allegations.

Putin has backed Medvedev’s initiative to monitor personal spending by state officials, saying in April that Russia may require senior officials in state-run companies, university rectors and heads of large state medical facilities to make annual declarations of their income and property to reduce corruption.

Medvedev, who four years ago signed a law requiring officials to file income declarations for themselves and family members, has also promised that the government will seize the assets acquired “through dubious means,” which may also be grounds for firing officials.

The legislative amendments unveiled today don’t yet allow for criminal prosecution of violators.

(Corrects to remove the word “triple” from second paragraph.)
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