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Russia parliament’s anti-graft chief in new scandal

Image courtesy of sovietstory.comA powerful Russian lawmaker who heads the Duma’s Anti-Corruption and Security Committee has been hit with allegations that she tried to conceal ownership of an apartment in Moscow worth nearly $3 million.

Irina Yarovaya, left, lives with her husband ‘in an elite $2.9 million apartment in downtown Moscow registered to their 23-year-old daughter,’ according to a story Monday in the Moscow Times.

Yarovaya had declared earnings of $93,000 in 2011, the story said.

Five members of Russia’s Duma have resigned since December 2011 after anonymous bloggers disclosed secret business dealings.

Vladimir Pekhtin quit last month after Spain-based blogger Andrei Zayakin, known as Doctor Z, found documents that he secretly owned Florida property worth $2 million. Pekhtin had chaired the Duma’s Ethics and Credentials Commission.

The new revelations about Yarovaya’s Moscow apartment came from an anonymous tip to The New Times in a letter signed by ‘An admirer of A. Navalny and Doctor Z,’ the Moscow Times said.

Alexei Navalny is an opposition leader and anti-corruption activist. His blog is one of the most popular in Russia.

Yarovaya is a member of Vladimir Putin’s ruling United Russia Party.

‘She has either authored or co-authored several controversial laws in recent months,’ the Moscow Times said, ‘including those that raised fines for illegal demonstrations, re-criminalized defamation and required certain nongovernmental organizations that receive foreign financing to register as “foreign agents.”‘

It isn’t clear if Yarovaya broke any disclosure laws.

She has supported pending legislation to ban state officials from owning foreign real estate, bank accounts, or stock, RIA Novosti said. Russian officials can own foreign assets but must declare them.

Yarovaya reportedly bought the Moscow apartment in 2006 for $1.4 million and registered it to her daughter who was then 17 years old, the Moscow Times said.

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