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Just Russia Lawmaker Stripped of Parliamentary Immunity

Correction appended

The State Duma on Tuesday voted in favor of depriving A Just Russia Deputy Oleg Mikheyev of his parliamentary immunity over accusations of large-scale fraud.

Two hundred and ninety-seven deputies voted for and 59 against, while four abstained, Interfax reported Tuesday.

Communist Deputy Yury Sinelshchikov, who voted against, said he saw no compelling evidence of Mikheyev's guilt, and that investigators had likely violated the statute of limitations in conducting the investigation.

"By actively participating in business, Mikheyev committed immoral acts that violate the law, but we are not convinced that those violations fall under the Criminal Code," he said.

Liberal Democratic Party leader Vladimir Zhirinovsky, on the other hand, expressed support for the move and even went a step further, inviting the Prosecutor General and Investigative Committee to find violations by the entire Just Russia party.

"We will support everything just to make sure this party no longer exists, that this fraction is no more, that Mironov is no more," Zhirinovsky said in comments carried by Interfax.

The vote was prompted by the Prosecutor General's Office presenting evidence from the Investigative Committee saying that Mikheyev seized 14 real estate properties in Volgograd worth over 500 million rubles ($17 million) and embezzling 2.1 billion rubles from Promsvyazbank. He is also suspected of obstructing justice.

The removal of his immunity means that criminal proceedings against him can now be opened.

Mikheyev has denied all the accusations.

Due to a translation error, an earlier version of this story incorrectly stated that Mikheyev lost his seat in the State Duma. He was stripped only of parliamentary immunity, not his Duma seat. 

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