Russian lawmaker resigns over US property scandal
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MOSCOW, February 20 - RAPSI. Vladimir Pekhtin, a member of parliament from the ruling United Russia party, has announced his decision to resign over accusations of owning property abroad.
Pekhtin said in the State Duma on Wednesday that the accusations against him are groundless. He added that the investigation of his case, however, would last for months and could meet with obstacles from the United States, from where the documents proving his innocence must be sent.
The MP said that the accusation had been made to discredit the authorities rather than him personally.
Opposition leader Alexei Navalny wrote in his blog in February that Pekhtin owns undeclared properties in Florida worth over $2 million. Copies of deeds and other legal documents Navalny uncovered showed that Pekhtin and his son own two condos in Miami Beach and a villa in Ormond Beach, Florida, The Miami Herald writes.
Pekhtin told RIA Novosti that these properties belong to his son.
Vladimir Pekhtin, chairman of the parliamentary ethics commission, has asked State Duma Speaker Sergei Naryshkin to suspend him while information about his alleged ownership of US property is checked.
Naryshkin must issue instructions to the parliamentary ethics commission before the investigation can begin. According to the parliamentary ethics commission, Pekhtin's powers will be turned over to his deputy, Andrei Andreyev, for the duration of the investigation.
In February 2013, President Vladimir Putin forwarded a bill to the State Duma to prohibit officials from opening bank accounts abroad or owning foreign issued stocks or bonds.