11 Jan 2019 14:16

Property acquired legally before citizen took public post can't be forfeited to state - Constitutional Court

ST. PETERSBURG. Jan 11 (Interfax) - Property right restrictions should not apply to property legally acquired by a citizen before taking a public post, according to a Russian Constitutional Court decision published on Thursday.

The court made its decision after looking into Part 1 of Article 16 and Part 1 of Article 17 of the Federal Law on Control over Correspondence of the Expenditures of Persons Who Hold Public Posts and Other Persons to Their Revenues on the basis of an appeal filed by Grigory Kristov. It is based on earlier decisions made by the court.

Kristov, who was previously engaged in entrepreneurial activities, was elected to the duma of the Anuchinsky municipal district in the Primorye Territory in September 2015. After being elected, he filed his income and spending declaration in 2016 for the previous year. The declaration covered the period when Kristov was a businessman and purchased a store and two cars.

An anti-corruption commission found irregularities in his spending and income in 2015. Prosecutors filed a lawsuit seeking the forfeiture to the state of that property, and the court granted it. A court of appeals then reversed the decision, as the deals had been closed before Kristov received deputy status, but supported the confiscation of an expensive car. The judges of the Primorye Territory's court and the Russian Supreme Court rejected the claimant's appeals, and the deputy went to the Constitutional Court.

In its decision, the Constitutional Court said legislators have the right to set stricter requirements for persons who hold public posts. The Constitution allows restrictions on property rights, but they must be legally and socially justified and fair, the court said.

Property cannot be forfeited to the state if a person acquired it legally before taking public office if the person has not held the post before, the court said.

The Constitutional Court ordered a new trial of Kristov's case.