The Russian Prosecutor General's Office has asked the State Duma, the lower chamber of Russia's parliament, to strip MP Ilya Ponomaryov, a member of the A Just Russia faction, of immunity from criminal prosecution over the 'Skolkovo case', a State Duma source familiar with the situation told Interfax on Thursday.
"The petition lodged by the Prosecutor General's Office with regard to Ponomaryov is linked with the 'Skolkovo case'," the source said.
The document arrived in the State Duma late on Wednesday evening, and its contents were unknown then.
On August 26, 2013, Moscow's Gagarinsky Court ordered MP Ponomaryov to pay 2.7 million rubles to the Skolkovo foundation.
According to Skolkovo, Ponomaryov, with whom its Senior Vice-President Alexei Beltyukov signed contracts for ten lectures on behalf of the foundation, only delivered one good lecture. The foundation alleged that the parliamentarian did not deliver the other lectures in accordance with the contract (four lectures addressed the wrong issues and one lecture was limited to an introductory address). Under the contract, the lectures were to be delivered in South Korea and the U.S., but there is no confirmation that they were delivered there.
Lawyers for the Skolkovo foundation then asked the court to order Ponomaryov to pay nine million rubles.
The court partially granted the lawsuit against Ponomaryov, who, for his part, denied the accusations, saying he had done his job well and in full.
Subsequently, the Moscow City Court upheld the lower court's decision to order Ponomaryov to pay 2.7 million rubles. This ruling was appealed by the parliamentarian's defense team.
The demand that Ponomaryov pay 2.7 million rubles to the Skolkovo foundation was upheld by Russia's Supreme Court in June 2014.
Ponomaryov said on August 11, 2014 that this debt would be deduced from his wages.
The parliamentarian, who is currently abroad, said on March 25 he was not sure that he should return to Russia after the Prosecutor General's Office forwarded the aforementioned documents to the State Duma.
"I planned to do so, but I do not know now. First I need to understand what is happening," Ponomaryov told Interfax over the phone.
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