Russian prosecutors have asked parliament to lift the immunity from prosecution of the only member of Russia's legislature who voted against Crimea’s joining Russia, parliamentary officials said Thursday.
Authorities say Ilya Ponomaryov, one of a very few opposition lawmakers in the State Duma, is suspected of embezzling money earmarked for Skolkovo, an innovation hub project outside Moscow.
Duma spokesman Yury Shuvalov told reporters on March 26 that the chamber's speaker, Sergei Naryshkin, received an official request from the Prosecutor General's Office to strip Ponomaryov of his parliamentary immunity from prosecution.
The Duma is to consider the issue on April 6.
Ponomaryov, who has lived in the United States since last year, denies wrongdoing and says the embezzlement allegations are politically motivated.
Ekho Moskvy radio quoted him as saying he does not plan to return to Russia while under threat of prosecution.
"What's the point of just voluntarily going to prison?" he was quoted as saying.