Magnitsky Act's sponsor may be denied entrance to Russia
MOSCOW, July 2 - RAPSI. U.S. Senator Ben Cardin, the sponsor of the contentious Magnitsky Act, may be denied entrance to Russia, Izvestia daily reports on Monday.
The newspaper says Russia's parliament is discussing a large group of individuals, including the U.S. Consul General in Vladivostok Douglas Kent, as well as Drug Enforcement Agency officers Scott Hacker and Derek Odney, who are involved in the case of Russian businessman Viktor Bout.
Entry may be denied under draft law On Measures against Individuals Involved in Violation of Russian Citizens' Rights Abroad, talk of which may soon be resumed in parliament.
The draft was submitted to the lower house in June 2011 and it may be adopted if the United States passes the Magnitsky Act.
Some MPs do not consider it an appropriate response to Washington. Deputy foreign relations committee head Leonid Kalashnikov thinks that a more radical step is required.
Last week the U.S. Senate's Committee on Foreign Relations unanimously approved a bill that would impose sanctions on Russian officials allegedly linked to Hermitage Capital consultant Sergei Magnitsky's death in 2009.
The Sergei Magnitsky Rule of Law Accountability Act seeks to impose visa bans and freeze assets of Russian officials allegedly involved in the death of 37-year-old Russian lawyer, as well as in other serious human rights abuses in Russia.
Magnitsky was charged with involvement in large-scale corporate tax evasion. He died in a Moscow pretrial detention center on November 16, 2009, after spending nearly a year behind bars.
According to investigators, Magnitsky and his accomplices stole hundreds of millions of rubles from the state by manipulating tax returns between September and October 2007.
Hermitage Capital maintained that it had paid 5.4 billion rubles ($186.5 million) in taxes, but the money was stolen, abetted by law enforcement officials. Magnitsky's prosecution has been attributed to this theft.
Russia has warned that it would respond to the adoption of the bill in kind, imposing restrictions on U.S. officials.