From beyond the grave

The Economist

SINCE Sergei Magnitsky died in prison in Moscow on November 16th, 2009, his case has come to exemplify the abuse of power in Russia (or in the eyes of the Russian authorities, the hypocrisy and grandstanding of the West). Mr Magnitsky worked for a law firm called Firestone Duncan, which represented Bill Browder, a big foreign investor who had fallen foul of the Kremlin. Mr Magnitsky uncovered a scandal involving a $230m tax refund, obtained following the takeover and bankrupting of Mr Browder’s companies. A new video, part of Mr Browder’s unflagging campaign on the issue, contains the latest startling allegations about the background to the alleged fraud (those named have either made no public comment or strenously denied wrongdoing). He showed it on July 5th to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe, which is meeting in Monaco.

The opposition activist Alexei Navalny is also championing the Magnitsky cause. He wrote in the Times (full article behind paywall) that Britain should copy America, where both houses of Congress are supporting a bill that would deny entry to the 60 officials that Mr Browder says were involved in the persecution of Mr Magnitsky, or the fraud he uncovered.

In Putin’s Russia, where the Government is run more like an organised crime syndicate than a functioning state, no inquiries are made about politically reliable billionaires and how they make their money and run their businesses. Sleaze is the norm. But Britain has the rule of law, not to mention a moral, political and financial obligation to its citizens to block the import of corruption. For instance, its 2010 Bribery Act stipulated that the bribing of foreign officials, even if outside the UK, may be punishable by ten years in jail. Will any Russians bearing billions be investigated under this law?
But the Kremlin is fighting back. Mr Navalny’s email and twitter account have been hacked, exposing what purport to be embarrassing exchanges between him and his backers. His foes are calling for his prosecution. The head of the Federation Council, the upper house of Russia’s parliament, Valentina Matviyenko, called the Magnitsky bill “barbaric”. Russia is also pressing ahead with a posthumous prosecution of Mr Magnitsky for fraud and is also trying to prosecute Mr Browder for tax evasion (which he denies). It has asked the British authorities for assistance, but been turned down. It also wants to ban American officials involved in human rights abuses from visiting Russia, though this sanction may not have quite the same sting.

Regardless of the rights and wrongs of the events before and after Mr Magnitsky’s death, the tide seems to be flowing in Mr Browder’s favour. European countries that have so far dodged the issue will find it increasingly hard to argue that they can do nothing once America has taken the plunge. микрозаймы онлайн buy over the counter medicines https://zp-pdl.com/get-quick-online-payday-loan-now.php https://zp-pdl.com/how-to-get-fast-payday-loan-online.php микрозаймы онлайн

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