US anti-corruption expert expelled from Russia

Moscow, May 20 (IANS/RIA Novosti) A retired US diplomat and expert on the US Foreign Corrupt Practices Act has been banned from entering Russia.

The New York Times said Moscow-based Thomas Firestone, who works for the Baker & McKenzie law firm, was declared persona non grata when returning to Russia from a trip abroad May 5.

No official explanation for the incident was available.

Baker & McKenzie confirmed the expulsion in a statement cited by the New York Times.

The report did not name the reasons for Firestone’s blacklisting.

The press office of the foreign ministry in Moscow said Monday that it would not currently comment on the matter.

The Russian intelligence services unsuccessfully tried to recruit Firestone in March, the New York Times said, citing an unnamed source. No independent confirmation of the report was available.

Russia and the US are currently in the middle of another spy row after Ryan Fogle, an official at the US Embassy in Moscow allegedly tried to recruit an unnamed Russian security service officer for the CIA last week.

Firestone spent two terms as resident legal adviser at the US Embassy in Moscow until joining Baker & McKenzie in 2012.

He is an expert on Russian business practices, including illegal activity.

In 2010, Russia’s Federal Anti-Monopoly Service gave him an award for his contribution to “combating cartels and unfair competition”.

The US Foreign Corrupt Practices Act punishes companies working in the US for paying bribes abroad.

–IANS/RIA Novosti


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