Fall guy in Russian fraud uncovered by Sergei Magnitsky paid $2.1m

The Daily Telegraph

Questions have been raised about the role played by a sawmill foreman convicted of Russia’s largest tax fraud after new papers emerged purporting to show that he received payments worth $2.1m (£1.3m) following his detention for an alleged separate kidnapping.

Victor Markelov, 43, confessed in April 2009 to a vastly complex $230m theft of taxes paid to the Russian people and was jailed for five years with no fine in an apparent attempt to draw a veil over what was becoming an embarrassing episode for senior state officials implicated in the crime.

According to claims filed with the Russian prosecutor’s office, Mr Markelov may have been paid to take the fall. Two days after being arrested for the alleged kidnapping of a company director in late 2006 and attempting to extort $20m out of his boss, Mr Markelov was transferred ownership of a company with a book value of $1m.

One month later and still in custody, he became owner of another company worth $1.1m. He was released six months after his arrest and just months before the alleged $230m tax fraud was perpetrated in summer 2007 with the alleged involvement of the same policemen and financier as in the kidnapping.

The larger tax fraud was uncovered by Sergei Magnitsky, a Russian lawyer working for the UK hedge fund Hermitage Capital who presented evidence against the police allegedly involved. He was later arrested on tax evasion charges and held in custody for a year awaiting trial before dying of medical complications that were left untreated.

Mr Magnitsky has since become a symbol of the struggle against corrupt forces in Russia. This week, the Foreign Office cited his case in a report into “human rights violations” in Russia.

The new claims were filed on Tuesday by Mr Magnitsky’s boss, Jamison Firestone, who wants Mr Markelov’s $2.1m assets seized for the Russian state. No attempt has ever been made to recover any funds, despite the conviction of Mr Markelov, who was once jailed for manslaughter.

Mr Firestone said: “Each time Markelov is imprisoned for the crimes he commits together with his friends from the [police], he is compensated, roughly at the rate of $1m for every three months he is held in custody. This is the price of covering up the involvement of his co-conspirators. Such a wealthy felon should pay his part for stealing $230m from Russian people.”

Mr Markelov and his alleged conspirators were identified by the company director as the kidnappers in sworn testimony, but the charges were dropped and the police later promoted. The director and his boss have since been jailed for 10 years and 14 years respectively for fraud. срочный займ на карту онлайн срочный займ на карту онлайн https://zp-pdl.com/get-a-next-business-day-payday-loan.php https://zp-pdl.com/emergency-payday-loans.php hairy girl

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