Britain denies ‘Magnitsky blacklist’

Britain denied on Monday it had imposed an entry ban on at least 60 Russian officials implicated in the death of Moscow lawyer Sergei Magnitsky.

A source at the Home Office said there was no change in the government policy.

The Observer weekly reported Britain had secretly imposed the visa ban, citing former Europe Minister, Christopher Bryant, as saying he was informed of the measure by Immigration Minister Damian Green.

Magnitsky died in 2009 after accusing a number of Russian officials of massive fraud.

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has promised a full inquiry into the lawyer’s death.

Magnitsky was arrested in November 2008 on tax evasion charges shortly after alleging that officials, including law enforcement members, were involved in a $230 million tax scam.

He was detained in Moscow’s notorious Butyrka jail pending trial.

Magnitsky, who was working on behalf of a British investment company, Hermitage Capital Management, died a year later after being denied medical care, aged 37.

In July, the Kremlin’s rights body said Magnitsky’s death was the result of “calculated, deliberate and inhumane neglect.”

In August, the United States placed a visa ban on an unspecified number of officials it believed were involved in the death. Russia responded with its own blacklist of U.S. officials.

Larisa Litvinova, chief doctor at the Butyrka prison, and the jail’s deputy chief Dmitry Kratov, were charged with causing death by negligence in August.

President Medvedev’s human rights council said two different officials – senior Interior Ministry investigator Oleg Silchenko and Butyrka chief Ivan Prokopenko – were at fault.

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