A number of important bills were considered at the February sessions of the State Duma
Important bills were considered and adopted at the February meetings of the State Duma. Among them, granting the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of the Russian Federation (CCI RF) the authority to regulate the issuance of force majeure certificates by regional CCI, as well as establishing the procedure for the confiscation of officials' funds that exceed their official income.
Alexander Arbouzov, Partner and Head of Corporate Practice at Duvernoix Legal, commented on these amendments:
(1) GRANTING THE CCI RF THE AUTHORITY TO REGULATE THE ISSUANCE OF CERTIFICATES
"In fact, regional chambers of commerce have been doing this since 2020, when due to the pandemic, entrepreneurs massively faced force majeure circumstances and were unable to fulfill their obligations. The introduction of uniform rules for all will allow streamlining such activities of regional chambers”, the expert believes. “It will also save regional chambers from the potential temptation to follow the lead of local authorities in determining the circumstances of force majeure due to the possibility of the CCI RF to deprive them of such a right," he points out.
Alexander Arbouzov notes the excessive laconism of the document regarding the grounds on which the CCI RF can revoke the relevant powers. In his opinion, the legislator should indicate a specific list of such grounds in order to maintain a balance of interests.
(2) DETERMINING THE PROCEDURE FOR THE CONFISCATION OF OFFICIALS' FUNDS, THE AMOUNT OF WHICH EXCEEDS THEIR OFFICIAL INCOME.
"The bill puts things in order by defining those responsible for providing information to supervisory authorities, the timing of responding to it and specifying other issues”, agrees Alexander Arbouzov. “But what prevents the competent authorities from using existing legal mechanisms, for example, checking media data on inflated real incomes of officials? Before producing new regulations, it would be worthwhile to achieve the effective application of existing norms”, the expert believes. “In addition, such a mechanism may simply be a way of putting pressure on officials.”