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Alexei Kudrin announced Monday a proposal for a scheme similar to a capital amnesty
Russian Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin announced Monday a proposal for a scheme similar to a capital amnesty, a move that received wide coverage in two dailies on Tuesday. Early next year, the Finance Ministry of Russia will officially offer people a chance to return money they earned during the "wild capitalism" of the 1990s from overseas. Capital legalization will "cost" 13% in income tax and can be done using a simplified declaration. However, experts asked by Gazeta and Kommersant said that this was a dangerous offer for holders of offshore capital. Igor Yurgens, the first vice-president of the Renaissance Capital investment company, said: "This is a propaganda move and not an economic measure. The state is trying to restore order in the country and improve the investment climate, but few will risk declaring their money this way." Yevgeny Yasin, the head of research at the Higher School of Economics, dismissed the step, saying that it would not earn the authorities the trust of the business community. Valery Tutykhin, a managing partner of the John Tiner & Partners law firm, said nobody needed this amnesty. "Those people who earned their money through gray [unofficial] schemes can present it as savings or inheritance," he said. But he cautioned owners of criminal capital against trying to get an amnesty, as a case would be opened against them immediately. Alexander Shokhin, the head of the Coordinating Council of the Council of Business Unions of Russia, said: "Though the money would be considered clean, the tax service will have a pretext for inspecting these taxpayers for current violations. The argument will be that those people who evaded taxes in the past can also do it now." Artyom Tarasov, a businessman and the first legal Soviet millionaire, said: "They promise to exempt capital from punishment, but the money is free already because it has been taken out of Russia, whereas nobody here is giving any future guarantees. Most importantly, they are not offering better terms." Yevgeny Kiselyov, the former general director of the NTV channel, said: "I do not think there are crazy people who will declare the capital they have overseas because this will immediately place them in the field of vision of the Federal Financial Monitoring Service. Nobody will play this game after the Yukos saga and other tax trials."
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