Putin of­fers amnesty for money com­ing back to Rus­sia

Financial Mirror (Cyprus) - - FRONT PAGE -

Vladimir Putin has pro­posed a to­tal amnesty for all funds re­turn­ing to Rus­sia a month after sign­ing an anti-off­shore bill curb­ing cap­i­tal flight. “Let us put this page in our his­tory be­hind us. Do it once, but right,” he told the Fed­eral assem­bly.

The amnesty is one of a raft of probusi­ness mea­sure pro­posed by Putin in his an­nual ad­dress that also in­cluded an­ticor­rup­tion mea­sures such as a ‘su­per­vi­sion amnesty’ for SMEs.

In Novem­ber, Putin signed an “an­tioff­shore” law re­quir­ing in­di­vid­u­als and busi­nesses to re­port for­eign prof­its. The bill is aimed at curb­ing the out­flow of cap­i­tal from Rus­sia which was es­ti­mated at $2 trln in re­cent years.

Putin’s decision to in­tro­duce an off­shore amnesty gives cap­i­tal a real chance to re­turn to Rus­sia, said pres­i­den­tial spokesper­son Dmitry Peskov in an in­ter­view with Ros­siya 24 TV.

“The ini­tia­tive of a for­eign cap­i­tal amnesty is a unique op­por­tu­nity. The pres­i­dent clearly said – do it once. That means it’s the only chance in his­tory to re­turn their cap­i­tal, to come back home with all the money, to re­turn it back to Rus­sia, and use the money for the coun­try’s de­vel­op­ment,” he said.

Putin also said it was nec­es­sary to

free Rus­sian business re­stric­tive over­sight.

All checks on Rus­sian busi­nesses should be pub­lic. He said that in 2015 the gov­ern­ment is start­ing a spe­cial reg­is­ter with the in­for­ma­tion about who ini­ti­ated the




and checks, why they were done, and the re­sults.

“This will help pre­vent­ing un­mo­ti­vated or, even worse, spe­cially or­dered vis­its by in­spec­tors. I should add that this prob­lem is rel­e­vant not only for business but also for the bud­get and lo­cal gov­ern­ment agen­cies,” Putin said.

The Rus­sian Pres­i­dent was ad­dress­ing the Fed­eral Assem­bly in the Krem­lin, as eco­nomic woes in Rus­sia are in­creas­ing.

Western sanc­tions levied on Rus­sia over the uni­fi­ca­tion with Crimea, and fall­ing oil prices have sent the Rus­sian rou­ble plum­met­ing.

Pres­i­dent Putin be­lieves sanc­tions are only a pre­text for con­fronta­tion aimed at hold­ing back the grow­ing po­ten­tial of Rus­sia.

“Ev­ery time they be­lieve Rus­sia gets too strong, they use th­ese in­stru­ments. But it’s point­less to talk to Rus­sia in the lan­guage of force,” he said.

The rou­ble has lost more that 40% against the ma­jor cur­ren­cies since the start of the year, while the price of oil has fallen at almost the same pace from its high of $115 a bar­rel.

Ear­lier in De­cem­ber, Rus­sian Econ­omy Min­is­ter Alek­sey Ulyukaev warned the coun­try may fall into re­ces­sion, but was crit­i­cised for be­ing too pes­simistic.

Fi­nance Min­is­ter An­ton Silu­anov said the econ­omy stands to lose about $140 bln from sanc­tions and cheap­en­ing oil.

How­ever, a num­ber of Rus­sian politi­cians main­tain the econ­omy won’t be hit hard, as a com­bi­na­tion of a lower rou­ble and cheaper oil will mean the same rev­enue for the bud­get.

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