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Senator Stripped of Immunity Over Bribery Accusations

Russia's Federation Council stripped a senator of his legislative immunity for the first time in the council's history on Wednesday.

At the request of Prosecutor-General Yury Chaika, a solid majority of Russian senators voted in favor of the removal of Senator Konstantin Tsybko's legislative immunity.

Tsybko, whose term at the Federation Council is set to expire in October 2015, is accused of having accepted two bribes totaling 28 million rubles ($830,000) between 2010 and 2011, ITAR-Tass reported.

Investigators suspect that Tsybko accepted the first bribe in exchange for the assurance that a municipal office would be filled by a particular candidate. The second bribe was allegedly given in exchange for his promise to protect certain business undertakings in his home region of Chelyabinsk.

Andrei Klishas, head of the Federation Council's Committee on Constitutional Legislation, said Wednesday that the stripping of Tsybko's immunity would not deprive him of any rights related to his defense in criminal proceedings, and that he would remain in his position.

The acceptance of a bribe is a criminal offense in Russia punishable by up to 12 years in prison.

Three parliamentarians have been stripped of their immunity because of their suspected involvement in criminal activity in recent years.

Alexei Mitrofanov, the head of the State Duma's Committee on Information Policy, Information Technology and Communications, was stripped of his parliamentary immunity earlier this month based on accusations of extortion.

In February 2013, the Duma voted to strip deputy Oleg Mikheyev's legislative immunity in connection with an ongoing fraud investigation.

In May, Communist Party lawmaker Konstantin Shirshov was sentenced to five years in prison after being stripped of his immunity in 2013 for attempting to sell his Duma seat for $10 million.

See also:

Man Eats Bribe, Fails to Keep It Down

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