Corruption, concerns about judicial system may impact Russian investment climate – EESC head

Cropped File Photo of Two Men in Business Suits Shaking Hands and Passing Cash

(Interfax – MOSCOW, July 27, 2013) Opacity of the Russian judicial system and corruption may influence investors’ decisions to enter the Russian market, European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) President Henri Malosse said.

“Today investors indeed may feel some trepidation for reasons that are linked to the reliability of the Russian judicial system, as well as for reasons of corruption,” Malosse told Interfax in an interview.

“Corruption is not unique to Russia, it exists everywhere,” he stressed.

“Sometimes foreign businessmen can see two realities in Russia: in the first reality corrupt officials are punished and receive real sentences and in the other, they continue their activities because they have some political connections,” he said.

Asked whether domestic events in Russia, in particular, a number of trials that have caused public outcry, may have a negative impact on the inflow of investors to Russia, Malosse said: “These issues should be distinguished.”

“I my opinion, the lack of transparency in the Russian judicial system, as well as the absence of safety inside prisons, may cause concerns. However, these issues are not directly related to investments. The issue at stake is that people want to live in a law-governed state. They do not want to live in a country where one can at any moment find himself in a prison or fall victim to state violence,” he said.

As to investments “in Russia, as we can see, much should be done in the sphere of combating corruption,” he said. According to the Transparency International ratings, Russia is at the same corruption level as countries where corruption instances are very serious and not always punished, he recalled.

The European Economic and Social Committee was set up in 1958 in line with the Treaty of Rome. This is a EU consultative body that represents Europe’s civil society. The committee issues recommendations that are mandatory for consideration by EU bodies.