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Duma Candidate Disqualified For Owning 'Foreign' Shares In State Bank

Dmitry Potapenko
Dmitry Potapenko

Russia's Supreme Court has rejected an appeal by would-be State Duma candidate and businessman Dmitry Potapenko against his removal as a candidate for allegedly owning "foreign financial instruments."

The court's September 1 ruling was published on September 9 and means that Potapenko will be removed from the party list of the Russian Party of Liberty and Justice for the September 17-19 national legislative elections. Potapenko was also seeking a single-mandate seat in the Duma from a district in Moscow.

Under Russian law, candidates and Duma deputies are not allowed to own foreign financial instruments such as shares of company stock. The same provision was used to bar popular Communist Party candidate Pavel Grudinin in July and several candidates from the liberal Yabloko party, the Liberal Democratic Party of Russia (LDPR), A Just Russia, and the New People party. Yabloko candidate Yekaterina Kolesnikova was disqualified for owning "foreign financial instruments" worth $68.

Potapenko was accused of owning shares in several companies that are traded on foreign stock exchanges, including Russian search engine Yandex and the state-owned Russian savings bank Sberbank.

Potapenko has said he does not own any disqualifying instruments, but instead holds only depositary receipts, which are domestic financial instruments that represent shares in companies traded abroad but are considered an alternative to actual international trading.