Interior Ministry reopens probe into Magnitsky case

MOSCOW, August 3 (Itar-Tass) — The investigation department of the Interior Ministry reopened the probe into the criminal case against Hermitage Capital Management lawyer Sergei Magnitsky, who was accused of tax evasion. Magnitsky died in the hospital of the remand prison “Matrosskaya Tishina” in 2009.

“The investigation into the criminal case has been re-opened, at the decision by the Prosecutor General’s Office,” a representative of the department told Itar-Tass. He declined to elaborate.

On Tuesday, the PGO overturned the resolution on dropping criminal proceedings against Magnitsky.

PGO spokeswoman Marina Gridneva told Tass that “the decision was made after the Constitutional Court adopted a resolution on July 14 which commits investigative bodies to clarifying the relatives’ attitude to dropping criminal proceedings against a diseased person for non-rehabilitating reasons.”

“By resuming the investigation, the PGO raised the issue — before the Interior Ministry’s investigation department (formerly the SK Committee under the Interior Ministry which was probing Ministry’s tax evasion case) — of reopening the probe, by the results of which the investigators should take a legal decision by taking into account Sergei Ministry’s relatives’ opinion,” she said.

Meanwhile, a source at the Hermitage Capital Management fund told Tass the investigation into the criminal case against Magnitsky had been resumed without his relatives’ consent.

“Earlier, the criminal case against him was dropped, also without the consent of Magnitsky’s relatives. Therefore, it is yet another violation of the constitutional right of Sergei Magnitsky’s relatives,” the source said.

The case was sent for investigation to the Interior Ministry’s main department for the Central Federal District, which had recently acknowledged that investigator Silchenko and his group had not committed any illegal actions within the Magnitsky case.

Managing partner of the Firestone Duncan audit company Sergei Magnitsky, 37, died in an IT ward of the hospital on the premises of the Matrosskaya Tishina remand prison on November 16, 2009, seven days after he was officially charged with organizing and abetting grand tax evasion.

Magnitsky’s case was to have been referred to court in December 2009.

A criminal case was opened over the fact of his death due to the failure to provide assistance to a sick person and non-fulfillment or improper fulfillment of one’s duty by an official as a result of negligible attitude to service.

Forensic experts said Magnitsky died of a combination of several illnesses, and untimely medical assistance and diagnostics of chronic diseases.

The suspects in the tax evasion case are Magnitsky, Hermitage Capital Management managing director William Browder and former director general of the Kameya company Ivan Cherkasov. They are on the wanted list.

The Washington Post reported that the Department of State had activated the black list of the Russian officials allegedly implicated in Magnitsky’s death. They are banned from entry into the United States. The Department of State did not disclose their names.

Russian lawmakers criticized the move saying it undermines trust in Russia-US relations and threatens the two countries’ course towards “resetting” in a most ridiculous way.


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