Putin bans top officials from holding foreign accounts

MOSCOW (AFP) - Russian President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday banned all top state officials and their families from holding foreign accounts while still allowing them to keep property assets abroad.

The new amendment to an existing law is aimed at fighting corruption and improving the government's image at a time of rapidly slowing economic growth.

But the measure is a watered down version of the original bill initially agreed by parliament that banned senior figures from owning foreign property.

Mr Putin never explained why he decided to submit his own version of the legislation replacing the original version. The Kremlin's bill was ultimately passed by both houses of parliament last month.

But critics and members of the opposition accuse Mr Putin and other Kremlin officials of owning vast estates in world resorts and watering down the bill to protect their own holdings.

The law published on Tuesday forbids state officials, along with their spouses and children, from owning foreign bank accounts or other financial instruments such as stocks and bonds.

Those affected include members of the government, law enforcement officials and central bankers as well as judges, lawmakers and soldiers.

Officials have a grace period of three months to close accounts after their appointment to high office. Failure to observe the rules can result in the official being fired.

Join ST's Telegram channel and get the latest breaking news delivered to you.