Putin top campaign spender

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    Moscow, (IANS/RIA Novosti) Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin was the top spender in this presidential campaign with 368 million rubles ($12 million), according to financial statements by candidates published Thursday.

    Putin collected 411 million rubles for the campaign, exceeding the maximum limit of 400 million rubles, but gave back or forwarded 33 million rubles from the sum to the state budget, according to documents published by Rossiiskaya Gazeta.

    Independent Mikhail Prokhorov, a tycoon with a fortune of estimated $18 billion, was second with 319 million rubles spent as of Feb 24, the newspaper said.

    Communist Party candidate Gennady Zyganov was third with 251 million rubles spent, followed by Vladimir Zhirinovsky of the Liberal Democratic Party with 210 million rubles.

    A Just Russia’s Sergei Mironov was the thriftiest of the five candidates on the ballot, only spending 118 million rubles of 129 million rubles raised. The report did not specify sources of campaign funding for the candidates.

    Russian presidential elections take place Sunday.