Posts Tagged ‘swiss info’

January 2013

Shadow of Magnitsky case reaches Switzerland


The case of Sergei Magnitsky, the anti-corruption lawyer who died a lonely and agonising death in a Moscow prison cell, has become an international cause celebre. Campaigners for justice have followed part of the money trail to Switzerland.

While working for an American law firm in Moscow in 2007, Magnitsky uncovered the largest tax refund fraud in Russian history, involving the theft of companies belonging to his client Bill Browder, formerly one of the most successful foreign investors in Russia through his firm Hermitage Capital Management.

For his efforts the 37-year-old lawyer was falsely arrested and held in pre-trial detention for 11 months, where he suffered torture and medical neglect resulting in his death in November 2009.

This version of events, accepted by the United States, the European Parliament, Amnesty International and the Russian opposition movement, is still disputed by the Russian authorities, who are pressing ahead with a posthumous prosecution of Magnitsky. A preliminary hearing is scheduled for January 28.

Earlier this month, the Swiss Federal Prosecutor’s Office announced it was freezing additional accounts in connection with its money laundering investigation into “persons unknown” in the Magnitsky case. This is the first public move since prosecutors blocked related accounts in March 2011.

The office declined to give details of the investigation other than to say that it was “continually turning up new findings that require additional examination”. The Russian government has not commented officially on the Swiss prosecutors’ move.

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