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Russian Duma Candidate Barred For Owning 'Foreign' Shares In Russian Companies

Dmitry Potapenko said he plans to appeal the decision.
Dmitry Potapenko said he plans to appeal the decision.

The Russian Supreme Court has barred Dmitry Potapenko, a candidate for the center-left Russian Party for Freedom and Justice, from running in upcoming legislative elections because he allegedly held shares in Russian companies listed on foreign exchanges.

Potapenko, who was running for the State Duma, denied the allegation in an interview with Novaya Gazeta on September 1, saying that he did not own shares in Yandex and Sberbank but depositary receipts.

"In Russia, you do not own shares," the businessman and radio host told the Russian daily.

A depositary receipt is issued by a bank to represent a foreign company's publicly traded securities. Yandex is traded on the U.S. NASDAQ exchange and Sberbank on the London Stock Exchange.

Potapenko claimed in his interview with Novaya gazeta that the Central Election Commission, which filed the suit against his candidacy, had presented documents that contained fake signatures, but the Supreme Court and the Prosecutor-General's Office did not accept his arguments.

Potapenko said he plans to appeal the decision after he formally receives it on September 2.

Earlier the court canceled the registration of six Duma candidates from the liberal Party of Growth on similar grounds, and lawsuits alleging candidates from the liberal Yabloko party own foreign assets are expected to be filed.

Russia's nationwide legislative elections, which will determine 450 Duma seats as well as some mayors and regional heads, are set to take place on September 17-19.

A Central Bank audit has said that 22 candidates have been excluded from party lists for owning foreign assets, including some in which candidates owned single shares purchased through investment apps.

With reporting by Kommersant, TASS, and Novaya gazeta