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Pskov Governor Didn't Declare French Villa, Navalny Says

Anti-corruption lawyer and opposition leader Alexei Navalny published documents on his blog Tuesday showing that Pskov Governor Andrei Turchak's wife owns a company with real estate in France that Turchak didn't declare until this month.

Navalny scored a major opposition victory last month when senior United Russia member Vladimir Pekhtin resigned from the State Duma after Navalny published documents on his blog apparently showing that Pekhtin owned a condo in Miami, Florida, that he hadn't declared.

The exposes come amid a drive by President Vladimir Putin to eliminate foreign influence in government. Last month, Putin submitted a bill to the Duma that would prohibit lawmakers from holding foreign bank accounts, a measure that is also part of a ostensible Kremlin drive to fight corruption.

According to documents posted by Navalny on Tuesday, Turchak's wife Kira, brother Boris and father Anatoly set up a holding company in 2008 to purchase a 1.3 million euro ($1.7 million) villa in the French coastal city of Nice.

Kira Turchak owns 66.67 percent of the holding company, making her the majority owner of the house, which sits on a 250-square-meter parcel of land in the hills above the city.

Federal law requires officials — including governors, Duma deputies and Federation Council senators ?€” to declare their incomes and property, as well as the incomes and property of their wives and underage children. Turchak served in the Federation Council from July 2007 to February 2009, when he was appointed Pskov region governor.

Turchak told Kommersant in an article published Tuesday that he "guaranteed that no later than May 1, 2013, the real estate in France will either be sold or [my] wife will cease her participation in the company."

On Sunday, state newspaper Rossiiskaya Gazeta published Turchak's 2012 income and property declaration in which he indicated his wife's 66.67 ownership of the French holding company.

Contact the author at e.pfeifer@imedia.ru

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