Magnitsky found guilty of tax evasion

Moscow News

Moscow’s Tverskoy District Court has found Sergei Magnitsky, an auditor for Hermitage Capital who died in a Russian prison in 2009, guilty of tax evasion, RAPSI reported from the courtroom.

This is the first time that a Russian court has tried a dead person.

The ruling came Thursday afternoon and also found Hermitage Capital head William Browder, a portfolio investor who came to Russia in the late 1990s, guilty of tax evasion in absentia.

Browder, who lives in London, was sentenced in absentia to nine years in a penal colony after being convicted of tax evasion. The court has also closed the case against Magnitsky in connection to his death.

Browder called the verdict “shameful” and vowed “to fight for justice for Sergei Magnitsky and his family until the job is done,” according to an emailed note.

“The worst part of today’s verdict is the malicious pain that the Russian government is ready to inflict on the grieving family of a man who was killed for standing up to government corruption and police abuse,” Browder said in the note.

Investigators claim that Browder and Magnitsky embezzled hundreds of millions of rubles from the budget by manipulating tax returns between September and October 2007. Authorities believe Browder obtained over 130 million Gazprom stocks at an unfairly cheap price, Gazeta.ru reported.

Meanwhile, Hermitage Capital says that it paid 5.4 billion rubles ($180 million) in taxes, but that the money was stolen by corporate raiders with the help of Russian law enforcement officials.

On November 24, 2008, Magnitsky was arrested on suspicion of masterminding large-scale corporate tax evasion. The arrest came after Magnitsky himself revealed millions of dollars in tax theft by Russian tax officials. He died in Butyrka pretrial detention center on November 16, 2009, after complaining that prison doctors denied him medical treatment for pancreatitis. According to the Prosecutor General’s Office, his death was caused by cardiovascular insufficiency.

Magnitsky’s case was closed after his death, only to be reopened later. Under Russian law, a person can be prosecuted after his death.

The death sparked outrage in Russia and abroad over allegations of corruption and human rights abuse in Russia’s law enforcement system.

A criminal investigation aimed at solving the mysteries surrounding Magnitsky’s death was closed this March, with Russian investigators claiming to have found no evidence of a crime.

His death led to the eventual passage of the Magnitsky Act by U.S. Congress in late 2012, barring Russian officials accused of human rights abuses from entering the United States. In retaliation, Russia passed a law which banned the adoption of Russian orphans by Americans.

Thursday’s ruling “won’t have an effect on anything, the case is over,” Kirill Kabanov, a member of the Presidential Human Rights Council and the head of the National Anti-Corruption Committee, told The Moscow News.

“I [still] have a lot of questions for Browder, but with regards to Magnitsky, it’s not proven that he created [the tax scheme],” said Kabanov, who took part in an independent investigation into Magnitsky’s death. Kabanov said he believes Browder politicized the case.

Kabanov added that if the case had not been politicized, the investigation into Magnitsky’s death could have yielded results. микрозаймы онлайн займы без отказа https://zp-pdl.com/get-quick-online-payday-loan-now.php https://zp-pdl.com/emergency-payday-loans.php быстрые займы на карту

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