Libel tourism fiasco of Russian ‘torturer’ using our courts to bring claim against British businessman

Daily Mail

A former Russian police officer banned from travelling to America after being accused of torture and murder has been allowed to bring an explosive libel claim against a British businessman in London’s High Court.

The case, which will cost the UK taxpayer tens of thousands of pounds, is likely to be one of the most expensive ever heard in Britain.

It is being brought by Lieutenant Colonel Pavel Karpov, one of the men accused of involvement in the arrest, torture and murder of Russian lawyer Sergei Magnitsky who died in Moscow in 2009.

And it follows a high-profile campaign led by Mr Magnitsky’s former boss, William Browder, who wants more than 60 Russian suspects held to account for the lawyer’s death.

But Mr Karpov has hired top UK lawyers to sue Mr Browder for defamation in a trial that opens on July 24. The case is cited as one of the worst examples of libel tourism – where foreign nationals with little or no connection to the UK use the High Court to settle their disputes.

Last night senior Labour MP Chris Bryant said: ‘It is absolutely ludicrous a man I hope will never set foot in this country except to face criminal proceedings himself is able to abuse British libel law in this way.’

It comes after a Moscow court last week posthumously convicted Mr Magnitsky of tax fraud and convicted Mr Browder in his absence, sentencing him to nine years in jail.

Mr Browder, a British citizen who was born in the US, is chief executive of Hermitage Capital Management – the firm Mr Magnitsky was working for before his death.

He has denied the charges and claims the trial is politically motivated. His defence team have said they will appeal against the verdict.

Mr Magnitsky was arrested in 2008 after accusing officials of a massive tax fraud, but was later himself accused of the crime.

In libel papers seen by The Mail on Sunday, Mr Karpov insists he had nothing to do with the fraud, subsequent cover-up or the arrest, torture and death of Mr Magnitsky.

He says the allegations made by Mr Browder have caused ‘serious hurt, embarrassment and distress’.

Mr Karpov’s lawyers insist that while Mr Browder’s quest to pursue those who killed Mr Magnitsky might be legitimate, his campaign has wrongfully made false claims against Mr Karpov.

Lawyers for Mr Browder, including Geoffrey Robertson QC, have stood by the claims and say they will show in court Mr Karpov is a prominent figure in a Russian organised crime ring, the Klyuev Group, that specialises in complex financial frauds.

The papers also question how Mr Karpov is funding the case, which already includes more than £100,000 paid into court to provide security of costs. His legal team is being led by top QC Andrew Caldecott instructed by high-profile media lawyer Geraldine Proudler.

The papers say: ‘Until recently .  .  . [Karpov] was living with his grandmother and mother-in-law in a modest apartment of 54 square metres. In spite of the relatively modest level of salary paid to claimant under the terms of his employment by the Ministry of the Interior, he has acquired very substantial assets and enjoyed an upmarket lifestyle which it would be impossible for him to have earned legitimately through his official position.’

Mr Browder’s team detail how Mr Karpov is a frequent flyer – allegedly spending 225 days travelling outside Russia on 47 trips to 17 different countries from 2004 to 2012.

They also reveal how he often travelled on flights with others who have been accused by Mr Browder of belonging to the Klyuev Group.

A spokesman for law firm Olswang confirmed Mr Karpov’s libel claim is proceeding, adding he was ‘not banned from travelling to the UK’. займ на карту без отказов круглосуточно займ срочно без отказов и проверок https://zp-pdl.com/apply-for-payday-loan-online.php https://zp-pdl.com/online-payday-loans-in-america.php buy viagra online

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