Russian President Vladimir Putin has submitted to the State Duma for ratification the Council of Europe’s Convention on the confiscation of illegal funds and on countering the sponsorship of terrorism.
The bill to ratify the convention was prepared jointly by the Russian Foreign Ministry and the Russian State Agency for Financial Monitoring.
According to the explanatory note attached to the document, which was published on the parliament’s official website on Tuesday, the convention regulates the powers and rights of law enforcement agents in the investigation of suspects’ bank accounts and operations, as well as the procedure of seizing illegal income. It also regulates cooperation between various departments of the Russian Financial Intelligence Service.
The note also reads that the ratification of the convention would improve the effectiveness of Russia’s cooperation with foreign nations in the fight against the legalization of criminal funds and sponsorship of terrorism.
The Council of Europe Convention on Laundering, Search, Seizure and Confiscation of the Proceeds from Crime and on the Financing of Terrorism was introduced in May 2005 and signed by Russia in January 2009. Earlier this month, the Russian government approved the document for ratification by parliament.
Russia strengthened its terrorism laws about a year ago, making international terrorism a separate crime punishable by up to 10 years in prison, as well as requiring up to 15 years in prison for anyone found guilty of financing terrorist groups. Attracting new recruits to a terrorist organization was also criminalized, and will be punishable by prison terms of between five and 10 years. Public calls for terrorism and public justification of terrorist crimes were also criminalized, punishable by up to seven years in prison.
The new bill also lowers the age threshold for terrorist crimes – such as terrorist attacks and hostage taking – to 14 years of age from the current 16. Presently, the age of majority in Russia is 16, with exceptions for crimes such as murder, rape, kidnapping, and others, in which the age of criminal responsibility is 14.