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Amnesty Plan Submitted to State Duma

The long-awaited amnesty plan for economic crimes was submitted to the State Duma Tuesday after its revised version was approved by President Vladimir Putin.

Several thousand jailed businessmen are expected to be freed thanks to the new legislation, while cases that are still being investigated could be canceled, ITAR-TASS reported Tuesday.

The two bills that make up the plan were submitted to the lower house of parliament by its speaker Sergei Naryshkin and will be reviewed by deputies next week before the onset of the summer recess.

The new version of the plan, which has been given the president's blessing, contains 30 articles that will be covered by the amnesty, including fraud, embezzlement, illegal banking activity and money laundering.

Putin said during the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum last week that the amnesty will apply to first time offenders who have paid compensation to the victims of their crimes or were willing to do so.

Earlier, it was expected that the amnesty would free about 11,000 businessmen, but the figure now seems likely to be closer to 5,000-6,000, said Andrei Nazarov, a Delovaya Rossia member and Duma deputy for United Russia.

It is still unclear if an amnesty will concern Yukos oil company founder Mikhail Khodorkovsky and his business partner Platon Lebedev. Both of them are due for release from prison in 2014.

Due to the complexity of that case an expert analysis was necessary to decide whether the two could qualify for amnesty, business ombudsman Boris Titov, who first initiated the amnesty plan, said.

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