Three senators on Forbes list to leave Russian parliament to focus on business

Several of Russia's richest senators are willing to give up their seats in the Federation Council in order to focus on business, Izvestia newspaper reports.

The voluntary resignations of several senators that are businessmen will be discussed at a Federation Council commission meeting next week, that will be chaired by Deputy Speaker of the Upper House of Parliament Yuri Vorobyev, the paper says.

A source in the Federation Council told the paper who was planning to concentrate on business. "Those planning to resign early are Yamal Nenets Autonomous District Representative Dmitry Ananyev, Murmansk Regional Senator Andrei Guryev and Upper House Member from Leningrad Region Andrei Molchanov," the paper said.

Sources also say that billionaire Suleiman Kerimov and Leonid Lebedev, the owner and former president of Sintez, could leave the Upper House.

Upper House Speaker Valentina Matvienko last week said a check would be launched in the near future on senator involvement in business. She said that if "it is found that a senator is managing a business he should lose his mandate."

A member of the commission that is checking the senators, Evgeny Tarlo, told the paper that there had already be a request for an evaluation of the activities of several Upper House members.

The deputy head of the commission to monitor the accuracy of information on incomes, Vyacheslav Novikov, told the paper that three senators had decided to leave the Federation Council immediately before the checks are complete.

"The other day I received documents from senators that are willing to leave the Upper House and concentrate exclusively on their businesses. That is their personal right," he said. Novikov did not name the three senators.

"So far no decision about these senators has been made. Valentina Matvienko gave one month for everybody to make up their minds and for now we are just accepting applications. Roughly speaking the regulations can say that if a person is involved in activities that are not compatible with their status as a member of the Federation Council, than they can lose their mandate, but I do not think that is right. But such a possibility does exist in principle," he said.

All three senators that plan to leave the Federation Council, as reported to the paper, are on the Forbes richest Russians list. Guryev controls the chemicals holding company PhosAgro, Molchanov, the Leningrad region senator since 2008, is the founder of Russian property developer LSR Group and Ananyev is co-owner of Promsvyazbank.

Molchanov, Ananyev and Guryev, Izvestiya reports, announced their future plans to a Council commission, but did not inform their aides.

According to procedures for resigning from the Upper House before the end of a term, the senators must write to the governments of the regions they represent in the Federation Council, the paper said.

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