Poklonskaya vs Transparency Int’l

Confrontation between the int’l organization and a Russian MP: either to declare an apartment in Donetsk or to lock in whistleblowers?
08.06.2017
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On June 7, the Transparency International Russia (TIR) published a report about the property of an MP Natalia Poklonskaya she had failed to declare. The former Crimea’s prosecutor immediately fought back, saying that the whistleblowers would be “locked in”. But the confrontation between her and the investigators started much earlier.

In April, the officials and legislators published their income declarations. Natalia Poklonskaya, as an MP (United Russia) also did that, declaring 2.6 mln rubles earned in 2016.

She declared no property but two apartment on lease, one she temporarily uses as an MP (79.8 m2), the other as a service accommodation (116.6 m2). Her daughter also lives in those apartments.

The journalists immediately noticed that Poklonskaya had failed to include her husband she used to mention repeatedly.

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Natalia Poklonskaya holding her daughter's picture, which shows Natalia and her husband, photo - TASS

“There’s the reason why I call him my husband. There were lots of men who had hoped to date me. So to dot the i’s and cross the t’s, I used to say I was married and have a family. Perhaps, that was not quite fair, but my declaration has been correct”, Poklonskaya said.

On May 23, the Yabloko party’s anti-corruption center filed a request to the Prosecutor’s office and the State Duma over the strange disappearance of Poklonskaya’s husband and a car, reported in her taxpayer’s ID.

Lack of the car in her declaration the MP explained with the fact she had presented the vehicle to her father before the end of 2015. However, in her 2015 declaration neither property nor the car have been declared.

Questionable declaration

On May 20, Poklonskaya proposed to check the Anti-corruption foundation and TIR the over corruption allegations.  

“Perhaps, they have been so vocal about corruption because they have feather on the snout. So it is ought to check them on corruption”, she said.

She added that public anti-corruption organizations might be a threat to Russia’s stability.

“One can’t stir the society and use any situation, even corruption-related, for someone’s dirty purposes”, the MP believes.

The TIR’s vice president Elena Panfilova responded that the organization had been ready for the inspection in case Poklonskaya would substantiate her claims.

“If Poklonskaya wants to inspect us and can arguably explain what corruption may take place in a non-commercial organization, well, it’ll be interesting to talk to her”, Panfilova said.

Poklonskaya kept fanning manure to Panfilova and another TIR’s representative Ilia Shumanov on Twitter, blaming them for being “too touchy” and offering them to disclose information about their property and income.

In return, the MP promised to disclose her own wear, car, accommodation and her parents’ house in exchange for the whistleblowers to disclose those of theirs and their relatives.

On May 22, the head of the State Duma security and anti-corruption committee Vasili Piskarev sent a request to the Prosecutor General’s office asking to check Shumanov’s remarks about Poklonskaya.

“The committee believes those remarks were aimed at illegal pressure on the MP in connection with her duties regarding the given non-commercial organization”,

Poklonskaya’s colleagues said.

You can find full version of Natalia Poklonskaya’s declaration on declarator.org.

Whistleblower said, whistleblower did

This can be seen in Poklonskaya’s informal biography that her maiden name was Dubrovskaya. Her full namesake has an apartment in Donetsk (29.9 m2). In Ukrainian taxpayer’s registry, her number is 2929721948. The birthdate and birthplace of the apartment’s owner also are the same as those of Poklonskaya - which, of course, could be just a coincidence, the TIR admits.

The analysts also paid attention that the daughter of the MP published a photo of a cat on VK social web. The same cat and the same sofa were published by Poklonskaya herself on Twitter.

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Photo –  transparency.org.ru

“If that apartment has actually been Poklonskaya’s property, that means she failed to mention it in her declarations four times since 2014”, the TIR concluded.

Besides, the TIR has questions over the service accommodation mentioned in the MP’s declarations.

“In line with the Housing Code, she must vacate the service flat in Simferopol in September 2016 due to her election to the State Duma. But at that time, Crimea’s prosecutor’s office purchased one more apartment for Poklonskaya’s successor Oleg Kamshilov. This is unclear why Poklonskaya has retained that apartment instead of passing ti to her successor”, the TIR said.

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Cost of apartments for prosecutors of Crimea, source –  transparency.org.ru

The TIR sent a request to the State Duma chairman Vyacheslav Volodin, Prosecutor General Yuri Chaika and the Presidential administration asking to check the credibility of Poklonskaya’s declarations and legality of her using the apartment in Simferopol after quitting her job there.

How Poklonskaya reacted

The day the TIR published its investigation, Poklonskaya had said that the Simferopol apartment was mentioned in her declaration because she lived there before her election to the Duma. According to the MP, the Prosecutor General’s office has been considering if she could privatize that accommodation for 12 mln rubles.

Meanwhile, she asked the Prosecutor General, FSB and Investigative Committee to scrutinize the TIR over “criminal actions”. Poklonskaya added that the TIR’s investigation has contained “ provocative and false information about her”.

“As I have initiated the checks, the Transparency International would actually do what they should do -  doing compulsory tree cutting”, Poklonskaya threatened.

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