Russians linked to Sergei Magnitsky case banned from entering UK

The Telegraph

The Home Office has barred 60 Russian nationals linked to the Sergei Magnitsky whistleblower case from travelling to the UK.

Mr Magnitsky, a lawyer who worked for London-based hedge fund Hermitage Capital Management, died in a Moscow jail in 2009 after accusing senior Russian police officers of organising a $230m (£153m) fraud in league with tax officials. He died after being beaten and denied medical treatment for pancreatitis.

The Home Office issued the bans after the Commission on Security and Co-operation in Europe published a list of the 60 officials in June last year, Telegraph.co.uk has learned.

The move is likely to prompt retaliation from the Kremlin, which banned American parents from adopting Russian children in reprisal agaisnt the US issuing visa bans and freezing the assets of some of the officials implicated in the case.

The Home Office’s barring of the Russian was contained in a previously unreported Parliamentary response in April to a written question from Dominic Raab.

Mr Raab, the Conservative MP for Esher & Walton, asked the Home Office if any of the 60 Russians had visited the UK in the last year.

He added: “I welcome this crucial first-step towards introducing a UK Magnitsky Act. Ministers have shown shown real mettle in doing the right thing. When we have credible evidence on those with blood on their hands for the most appalling crimes, they should not be free to breeze into Britain as if nothing had happened.”

In response, Mark Harper, minister for immigration, replied: “The Home Office Special Cases Directorate is already aware of the individuals on the list and has taken the necessary measures to prevent them being issued visas for travel to the UK.”

The news comes four months after Mr Magnitsky’s widow, Natalya Zharikova, urged the Government to follow in the footsteps of the US by barring her husband’s abusers.

The US passed the Magnistky Act in December 2012, banning those officials deemed responsible for the lawyer’s death.

Mr Magnitsky had found that a criminal gang, aided by Russian police and tax officials, seized Hermitage’s Russian subsidiaries and created false claims to obtain a court decision that would allow all $230m of tax the hedge fund had paid to be rebated.

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