Head of Regional Real Estate Registration Authority Bribed To Facilitate Registration Procedure

Acting Head of Russia's federal service responsible for registration of land rights, Olga Zhdanova, has been accused, along with a colleague, of bribery in public office. According to the investigation, she was given 1.3 million roubles (approximately US$40,000) to facilitate the registration of land plots and buildings in a prestigious area of Moscow. Zhdanova may be liable for 8 to 15 years' imprisonment with a fine of 70times the bribe amount. Her colleague could be imprisoned for up to 12 years with the same amount of fine.

Currently, developing a real estate project in Russia requires going through 51 procedures that take about 432 days in total and cost 184% of GNI per capita. According to the World Bank's 'Doing Business' rankings, Russia ranks 178th out of 183 countries for ease of obtaining construction permits; as such, the risk for corruption is high. The Roadmap for the Improvement of the Business Climate in Construction signed by the Prime Minister in August 2012 aims to reduce this to 11 procedures, 56 days, and 101% of GNI per capita by 2018. Combined with other adopted roadmaps to improve the general business climate in Russia this should raise Russia's Doing Business ranking up to number 20.

Commercial Director of Russian Airline Accused of Abuse of Power

Andrei Kalmykov, the Commercial Director of Aeroflot, the largest Russian airline company, allegedly used his position to favour contractors affiliated with his relatives.  These contractors included travel companies from Sunrise Tour Group.

Andrei Kalmykov's actions are said to have resulted in US$4.5 million losses to the company.  Kalmykov faces up to 4 years' imprisonment if he is convicted.