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Developing Economies

Why Russia May Free Thousands Of Accountants

In an effort to attract more overseas investors, Russian lawmakers are planning to amend the country's law on economic crimes. That could result in the release of 100,000 businessmen, Bloomberg News reports.

About one fourth of the 900,000 people in Russian jails are accountants, entrepreneurs, legal advisers or mid-level managers, the deputy head of one of Russia's lawmaking committees told Bloomberg.

Foreign investors have been wary of Russia's legal system. And in the past few years, the country has received much less foreign investment than the other BRIC countries (Brazil, India, and China).

"The current environment is like swimming with crocodiles in a pool of sulfuric acid," the co-owner of a Moscow chemical distributor, who spent seven months in jail, told Bloomberg. "There’s a war on business people in Russia, and it's purely business for officials. They can charge you with any crime and incarcerate you to extort money."