Court suspends Magnitsky colleague case

A Moscow court suspended indefinitely on Wednesday the hearing of a tax evasion case against a former colleague of anti-corruption lawyer Sergei Magnitsky.

Ivan Cherkasov is accused of underpaying $73 million in taxes in 2006 as head of the Russian branch of British investment company Hermitage Capital Management.

Oleg Silchenko, the investigator who requested Cherkasov’s arrest, has been implicated in the death in custody of Sergei Magnitsky in 2009.

Magnitsky was jailed in 2008 after attempting to defend Hermitage Capital, once Russia’s top foreign investor, against the same charges.

Magnitsky accused Russian tax and Interior Ministry officials of using Hermitage to carry out a $230 million tax fraud. He died aged 37 from acute heart failure after 11 months in a Moscow pre-trial detention facility.

Magnitsky was kept in appalling conditions and was refused crucial medical treatment in what Hermitage says was an effort to coerce him to admit his role in its alleged tax evasion.

Hermitage head William Browder has been barred from Russia since 2005.

President Dmitry Medvedev has ordered an official investigation into Magnitsky’s death, but no one has yet been charged.

The presidential Human Rights Council said last week that the charges against Magnitsky were fabricated and had no legal basis.

MOSCOW, May 4 (RIA Novosti)

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