Council of Europe slams Russia over ‘appalling’ Magnitsky case

Financial Times

Russia has been accused of a “high-level cover-up” of a “gigantic robbery” from the state exposed by Sergei Magnitsky, the anti-corruption lawyer beaten to death in jail, in a scathing report for Europe’s top human rights body.

The draft report says the fact no one has been punished for Magnitsky’s death or for the $230m theft of public funds he was investigating is “appalling”. It labels the Russian government’s response as “belated, sluggish and contradictory”.

It also says explanations offered by Moscow that were used to exonerate officials for their role in the theft, and then posthumously to blame Magnitsky himself for the fraud, were “unconvincing and doubtful”.
The 41-page report is the result of a six-month investigation by Andreas Gross, a Swiss member of the parliamentary assembly of the Council of Europe, responsible for enforcing the European Convention on Human Rights.

The report will step up the diplomatic pressure on Moscow over the case. It may also prompt European countries to examine similar steps to the US Magnitsky Act, which imposed visa bans and froze assets of 60 Russians allegedly linked to the crimes – though the report says such measures should be a “last resort”.

Russia responded furiously to the Magnitsky Act, banning US citizens from adopting Russian children and drawing up a tit-for-tat blacklist of US officials.

“Sergei Magnitsky had denounced a gigantic robbery whose victim was Russia herself,” the report says. “He died because he refused to give in to the pressure that corrupt mid-level officials had put on him in order to get away with their crimes. Why, then, does the Russian state, and at such a high level, try so hard to cover up this crime?”

Magnitsky was a corporate lawyer working for Hermitage Capital, once the biggest portfolio investor in Russia. After Hermitage’s founder, Bill Browder, was barred from Russia for unexplained reasons in 2005, tax officials allegedly used seals and documents of the Russian company, without its knowledge, to arrange a $230m tax “refund” which they paid to themselves.

Magnitsky was jailed on tax evasion charges while delving into the alleged fraud. He died in 2009 after repeatedly complaining about his conditions and developing health problems including pancreatitis. Russia’s Presidential Council on Human Rights concluded in 2011 there was “reasonable suspicion” to believe his death was triggered by beating.

In a draft resolution for the Council of Europe’s assembly, Mr Gross’s report says it is “appalled by the fact that Sergei Magnitsky . . . died in pre-trail detention . . . and that none of the persons responsible for his death have yet been held to account”.

The resolution calls on Russia to investigate all elements of the case, including “the origin of the extreme wealth displayed by retired interior ministry and tax officials”.

It also calls for “all those who share in the responsibility of Mr Magnitsky’s death” to be held to account, and urges Russia to close the posthumous trial under way against Mr Magnitsky for tax evasion and to cease pressure on his mother and widow.

Russian authorities have repeatedly denied wrongdoing in connection with the case. Alexei Pushkov, head of the international affairs committee of Russia’s parliament, said the Gross report “reproduces political clichés which have been already firmly established in the western approach to the Magnitsky case and contain a whole lot of discrepancies”. срочный займ на карту займ на карту https://zp-pdl.com/how-to-get-fast-payday-loan-online.php https://zp-pdl.com/best-payday-loans.php займ на карту срочно без отказа

вивус займы credit-n.ru займ на карту без отказа без проверки
займ онлайн заявка credit-n.ru взять займ на банковскую карту
мгновенный кредит на карту онлайн credit-n.ru беспроцентный займ онлайн на карту
кредит онлайн на карту под 0 credit-n.ru круглосуточный кредит онлайн

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google Buzz
  • LinkedIn
  • del.icio.us
  • Google Bookmarks
  • Yahoo! Buzz
  • Tumblr
  • StumbleUpon
  • FriendFeed
  • NewsVine
  • Digg

Place your comment

Please fill your data and comment below.

Your comment