No matter how much damaging information civic activists or foreign investors have dug out, the fight against corruption will still depend entirely on the country leadership’s political will

WPS: What the Papers Say

On Monday May 16th, 2011, the lawyers of Hermitage Capital Investment Fund Managing Director William Browder attended the IAM Investigation Committee. According to Investigation Committee official representative Irina Dudukina, they were acquainted with the order on the prolongation of the investigation of the criminal case against their client. There is little doubt that all of this is a direct response to the actions of Hermitage Capital. As is known, some time ago Fund lawyers filed an appeal to the Prosecutor’s Office of Switzerland and thus began a criminal investigation of money laundering by Russian officials and members of their families. Representatives of the Fund argue that part of the funds stolen from the Russian budget have been placed on the accounts in Swiss banks. Earlier Fund lawyer Sergey Magnitsky, who was accused of tax evasion and died in prison in 2009, insisted on the investigation of that crime.

If William Browder, who now lives abroad, was interrogated by an investigator, probably he would have been behind the bars already, like it was with Magnitsky, and it cannot be excluded that he we would end up like his colleague.

While the IAM Investigation Committee is trying to get to William Browder, another body, the Investigation Committee of Russia (ICR), at the request of Magnitsky colleague Jamison Firestone conducts an audit of the involvement of former employees of tax inspections N25 and N28 in the city of Moscow in the above embezzlement of budgetary funds. As ICR spokesman Vladimir Markin reported to the ‘Profil’ editorial board, his office received a complaint of CEO Firestone Duncan against former employees of the Federal Tax Service Moscow Department, who decided on illegal tax refund totaling more than RUB 5.4 billion. They say, this is a head-on collision. According to colleagues of the lawyer who died in jail, an objective investigation of the case is hampered with the fact that it interferes with the interests of corrupt officials, including IAM members. However, the mere fact that after a year and a half after Magnitsky’s death the case has not yet been laid on a shelf, gives hope that eventually not only ‘puppets’, but also ‘puppeteers’ will find themselves on the dock.

Magnitsky’s case is multi-layered. It’s not just the theft of large sums from the state budget, in which law enforcement officers participated, as suggested by the Hermitage Fund. Magnitsky’s case is a head-on collision of foreign investors and corrupt Russian officials. Will investors be able to overcome corrupt officials?

Political analyst Stanislav Belkovsky believes that today there is some hope that Magnitsky’s case would be investigated and would provide answers to many questions. However, in his opinion, it will not happen because justice is sought by foreigners, but because it superimposed on a large-scale political and apparatus conflict, which has not appeared on the surface yet. According to Stanislav Belkovsky, currently the former and current heads of the Federal Tax Service are at loggerheads. The team of Mikhail Mokretsov, former head of the Federal Tax Service, eventually focused at Anatoly Serdyukov, who headed the Federal Tax Service before joining the Ministry of Defense top echelon. Federal Tax Service head Mikhail Mishustin, who is considered to be Kudrin’s associate and who is reportedly seeking to establish total control over his department, brought a new team with him. Our source specifies: “Persecutors of Magnitsky, those who are behind the scam of tax refunds, are closely connected with the Mokretsov-Serdyukov team, while the current leadership of the Federal Tax Service provides all the necessary materials to place that case in the limelight of public attention and give it a certain socio-political connotation. The fact that the interests of the FTS new leadership and Magnitsky’s colleagues coincided in this situation gives hope for a successful investigation”. Otherwise all attempts to shed light on Magnitsky’s case would lead nowhere. If Mishustin and Kudrin will continue to help investigate Magnitsky’s case, the investigation may well reach the level of deputy heads of federal law enforcement agencies, says Belkovsky.

However, according to our source, Magnitsky’s case still has to be perceived as an exception, because the whole system of government in Russia is built on corruption, and every officer goes to his post to get corrupt income. According to Belkovsky, only the change of elites and the actual repression, which President Medvedev cannot endorse, as he is the flesh of the ruling elite, could become a qualitative leap in the fight against corruption.

Director of the ‘Transparency International’ anti-corruption investigation center Elena Panfilova supports a similar view. In her opinion, the political will of the country’s leadership has been and remains the main driving force in fighting corruption. Civil society activists and foreign investors can dig up any volume of compromising information against any type of officials, but unless the head of state takes a principal decision to investigate corruption crimes regardless of kinship, rank and title, our fight against corruption will remain just a campaign and simulated activities.

On the day when this issue was to be published it was reported that the Duma had received a negative feedback of the government on the draft law on ratification of Art. 20 of the UN Anti-Corruption Convention. The document introduces the concept of ‘illicit enrichment’ and provides for criminal liability of officials for the excess of expenditure over income official. In 2006, having ratified the Convention as a whole, Russia still failed to ratify its Art. 20. Last March Duma deputies could consider the initiative in the first reading, but the Duma Council demanded that the government opinion was necessary for that. According to draft law author Sergey Obukhov, Duma deputy of the CPRF faction, the document is hindered only due to the fact that it threatens those who view public service as a feeding trough. займ онлайн микрозаймы онлайн https://zp-pdl.com/get-quick-online-payday-loan-now.php https://zp-pdl.com/get-a-next-business-day-payday-loan.php займ онлайн

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