Magnitsky and Browder attorneys refuse to participate in trial
MOSCOW, December 26 – RAPSI. The attorneys for Sergei Magnitsky’s family and William Browder, Hermitage Capital Management CEO, have refused to take part in a trial which they claim to be politically motivated.
The attorneys speak of numerous violations during the proceedings in their statement which was submitted to the Tverskoy District Court of Moscow. They say they are unable to execute their professional duties.
In late November, the Prosecutor General’s Office filed a lawsuit against William Browder and Sergei Magnitsky for evading more than 522 million rubles ($17.1 million) worth of taxes by falsifying tax returns and illegally using benefits for disabled individuals.
Magnitsky's prosecution was terminated after his death in a Moscow pretrial center, but later the investigation was reopened.
The case against UK citizen William Browder was brought in his absentia, since the United Kingdom has refused to cooperate with Russia on this matter.
On November 24, 2008, Sergei Magnitsky, an auditor of Hermitage Capital, was arrested on suspicion of masterminding large-scale corporate tax evasion. He died in a Moscow pretrial detention center on November 16, 2009 after spending a year behind bars. According to the Prosecutor General's Office, his death was caused by cardiovascular insufficiency.
According to investigators, Magnitsky and his accomplices stole hundreds of millions of rubles from the state budget by manipulating tax returns between September and October 2007.
His death sparked a public outcry and triggered amendments to the Criminal Code and a reshuffling of officials in the penal system.
Dmitry Kratov, former deputy head of the Butyrka pretrial detention center, and the ward's doctor Larisa Litvinova were defendants in the case over Magnitsky’s death.
However, the Investigative Committee closed the case against Litvinova last spring due to amendments to the Criminal Code affecting the statute of limitations.
On Monday this week, the prosecutor asked the court to acquit Dmitry Kratov, who was accused of negligence which led to Magnitsky’s death, as no link was established between the actions of the defendant and the lawyer’s death.