Russia's General Prosecutor said on Thursday he had launched an investigation into the business activities of Kremlin chief of staff Alexander Voloshin during an earlier period in the private sector. The probe had been launched at the request of members of the State Duma, Russia's lower house of parliament. "Individual members asked us to conduct a check into Voloshin's activities during his work in the private sector. We are carrying out these checks," the prosecutor said. Rumors about Voloshin's impending dismissal began even as President Vladimir Putin took over at the Kremlin on New Year's Eve, 1999, but he has so far confounded such talk. Voloshin has been accused by critics of enjoying inordinate influence over previous president Boris Yeltsin, the Russia Journal reported.