Posts Tagged ‘michael daly’

September 2013

Fraud and the City: Russia’s Manhattan Money Laundering

Daily Beast

Pussy Riot goes to prison while a gang accused of murder and mugging in Mother Russia gets luxury apartments in lower Manhattan. One federal prosecutor is calling Putin out.

Even as the United States and Russia were nearing an agreement over Syria’s chemical weapons, a federal prosecutor was filing papers that effectively accuse the Putin regime of tolerating, if not abetting, an organized gang of government officials and criminals who looted $250 million from the Russian treasury.

The immediate intent of the official complaint filed by U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara on September 10 was to seize several high-end Manhattan properties. The two multimillion-dollar commercial spaces as well as four luxury apartments—these across from where George Washington was inaugurated as our first president—were allegedly purchased to launder proceeds from the Russian gang’s diabolically brilliant scheme involving corporate identity theft and a fraudulent tax refund.

The prosecutor’s effort can be seen as at least a small measure of justice for the 37-year-old Moscow lawyer who died in horrific circumstances after uncovering the massive fraud. The lawyer, Sergei Magnitsky, reported the theft imagining that his government would be sure to act when the victim was the Russian people themselves, even if the crooks allegedly included senor law-enforcement and tax officials.

Instead, Russian authorities put those same law enforcement officials in charge of the investigation. Magnitsky was arrested in November 2008 by some of the very men he had accused. He resolutely resisted all efforts to make him withdraw his allegations against them and their alleged co-conspirators. He had been held without legal proceedings for just short of a year when he died in an isolation cell from causes that were subsequently listed as untreated pancreatitis, rupture of the abdominal membrane, and toxic shock.

“He was beaten by eight guards with rubber batons on the last day of his life,” the main prosecutor’s complaint says. “And the ambulance crew that was called to treat him as he was dying was deliberately kept outside of his cell for one hour and 18 minutes until he was dead.”

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