Andy McSmith’s Diary: Magnitsky’s law will be the legacy he deserved

The Independent

Next week will mark a grim anniversary, four years to the day since a Russian lawyer, Sergei Magnitsky, died of ill treatment in prison because he refused to end his lone campaign to expose corrupt officials who had embezzled more than £140 million from Russian taxpayers.

Unfortunately for his persecutors, Magnitsky wrote everything down, including names. An act passed by the US Congress empowers the American government to refuse visas and freeze assets of the people on his list, but nothing prevents them coming to London, where one even tried to bring a libel case that was thrown out of court.

Today, there was a ceremony in the Commons to launch a book by a young Paris based Russian journalist, Elena Servettaz, who has collected essays from more than 50 people, including 19 from Russia or Belarus, who want more governments to pass a Magnitsky Law, something neither the UK nor the EU is keen to do.

Magnitsky’s widow, Natalya Zharikova, was there. She told me: “This book shows how many people cared about Sergei.” So was William Browder, the London based investment fund manager who hired Magnitsky to represent his firm and so feels a personal responsibility for what became of him – and who is, by the way, the grandson of Earl Browder, war time head of the American Communist Party.

The Tory MP Dominic Raab is pushing for a British Magnitsky Law. “I don’t want the henchmen of despots and dictators waltzing into this country spending their money or sending their kids to school here. That offends me,” he said.

William Hague has said that the Magnitsky scandal is of “utmost concern” to the UK, and Cathy Ashton, EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs, is also “concerned” – to which Servettaz retorted “to express one’s concern is a far cry from promising that those guilty would have to pay a price.”

But as she also remarked: “The people responsible for Sergei Magnitsky’s death were hoping this story would turn out like George Orwell’s 1984, when enemies of the party were turned to dust.” At least that has not happened. buy over the counter medicines быстрые займы онлайн https://zp-pdl.com/apply-for-payday-loan-online.php https://zp-pdl.com/get-a-next-business-day-payday-loan.php займ онлайн на карту без отказа

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