Magnitsky charges were fabricated, inquiry says; Justice Leaked document shows commission will blame Interior Ministry officials and FSB for lawyer’s cell death

Daily Telegraph

In a landmark investigation Into the cell death of Moscow lawyer Sergei Magnitsky, a special Kremlin commission Is likely to publicly Implicate iriGmDors of the Interior Ministry and FSB.

The metal cage used for prisoners in courtroom No 14 at the Tverskoi regional court was empty during a recent hearing, its door wide open, when the court considered the arrest of Ivan Cherkasov, a senior executive at British investment fund Hermitage Capital.

Mr Cherkasov, who lives in London, said he has no intention of returning to face charges of tax evasion he says are false. He said his arrest was an act of revenge by members of the Russian security services.

Just days before, an independent commission set up by President Dmitry Medvedev said that the charges in the case of Russian lawyer Sergei Magnitsky were fabricated and that Interior Ministry and FSB security service officers were at least partly responsible for Mr Magnitsky’s death in Moscow’s Butyrka prison in 2009.

The lawyer was working for Hermitage Capital when he uncovered what he claimed was a $230m (£142m) tax refund scam set up by a group of corrupt police and tax officials. He was then charged with the same crime.

The 37–year–old married father of two died after being held for 11 months in pretrial detention. He is thought to have developed a severe pancreatic condition while in custody but was denied treatment despite repeated requests for medical care.

Prison officials first attributed his death to a “rupture in the abdominal membrane” and later to a heart attack. The findings of the presidential commission are in a preliminary report leaked to the Vedomosti newspaper and then confirmed by commission members.

“When Sergei Magnitsky testified against the police officers, the same officers put him in pretrial detention, tortured and killed him,”William Browder, chief executive of Hermitage Capital, said in a telephone interview from London.

The lawyer’s death became an international cause celebre, and President Medvedev has staked much on investigating the case.

Kirill Kabanov, head of the National Anti–corruption Committee, is working on a separate part of the report. He said that pressure has been relentless.

“There are several officials well known in politics who have stated openly that they don’t give a damn about our investigation,” said Mr Kabanov.

“This is wild, brutish arrogance. They aren’t puppets; they are players. And the [security service] isn’t prepared to surrender its employees, partly because they know a lot and could tell people. In addition, there is huge money at stake.”

Prison officials sacked

The final report is set to come out in June. Irina Dudukina, representative for the Investigative Committee of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, said: “We cannot comment on the findings until we see the official conclusion of the [presidential] commission.”

Officials from the Butyrka jail were dismissed. But there have been no arrests or direct police investigation of officials who are accused of corruption.

Hermitage Capital was once one of the most enthusiastic Kremlin cheerleaders. Since Mr Browder was refused entry to Russia in 2005, it has become a strident critic.

Hermitage Capital has spent an enormous amount of time and money on its own investigation of the officials involved in the alleged tax fraud. A series of videos have been released, some documenting lavish purchases made by the officials.

The most recent video made by the company accused a tax official who approved the tax refund of wiring millions into a Swiss bank account opened in the name of her husband.

The video also chronicles the purchases of luxury property in Dubai and Montenegro valued at more than $20m, although the official and her husband have an annual salary of only $38,000. The Swiss authorities froze the account after complaints by Hermitage.

At the end of the recent hearing, the court supported the investigator, Lt Col Oleg Silchenko (who was in charge of the Magnitsky case) and sanctioned the arrest of Mr Cherkasov.

The investigator refused to comment after the hearing, but he did say: “Who knows where I will be soon?’.’This is a fairly common remark in a country where people are not used to planning too far in the future. But it is a question which has special resonance and poignancy in this case.

“After this report [was leaked], we started to be pressured by security officials,” said the presidential adviser Valery Borschev.”They called me and asked why we are attacking Silchenko, and I answered that we were simply laying out the facts. We are striving for real punishment for those who are guilty, and we have only touched the tip of the iceberg at this point. Important figures stand behind the investigators and tax officials. We hope to get to them.” займы на карту займ онлайн на карту без отказа https://zp-pdl.com/get-quick-online-payday-loan-now.php https://zp-pdl.com онлайн займы

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