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2 Duma Deputies Face Losing Seats for Economic Crimes

The Prosecutor General has sent to the State Duma a request to deprive two Duma deputies of their parliamentary seats for economic crimes that include embezzlement and selling a Duma seat.

The request comes as the Investigative Committee accuses Communist Party Deputy Konstantin Shirshov of conspiring with three other men to sell his Duma seat to a businessman for 7.5 million euros ($10 million) in 2011, and A Just Russia Deputy Oleg Mikheyev of illegally seizing 14 real estate properties worth over 500 million rubles and embezzling 2 billion rubles from Promsvyazbank, reported Wednesday.

statement posted on the committee's site on Dec. 25, 2012 says Shirshov received 66 million rubles of the money on July 7, 2011.

Although the three men involved in Shirshov's crime have already been charged, Shirshov and Mikheyev are entitled to a special procedure for the criminal proceedings because they are members of the State Duma.

In accordance with that procedure, the Investigative Committee sent relevant documents to the Prosecutor General's office for review in late December, and prosecutors subsequently decided that the two deputies should lose their parliamentary privileges.

The last step in the process requires the State Duma to vote on the matter.

If the Duma receives the paperwork this week, deputies may consider the issue in the first week of February, said Nikolai Kovalev, the Duma's head of supervision of the credibility of information on deputies' incomes and property.

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