Bank accounts related to alleged fraud uncovered by Magnitsky frozen in France – report
MOSCOW, June 25 (RAPSI) – Authorities of France have frozen bank accounts with millions of euros that may be related to an alleged Russian tax fraud presumably exposed by Sergei Magnitsky, Reuters reported on Thursday.
According to Reuters, Magnitsky's former employer, Hermitage Capital, wrote a complaint to French authorities asking them to investigate transfer of funds into France that could be related to the alleged $230-million fraud uncovered by Magnitsky.
Leading investigative magistrate Renaud Van Ruymbeke was heading a team inquiring into the alleged laundering of cash from Russia, Reuters reported quoting a judicial official in Paris.
Magnitsky worked for Firestone Duncan and represented Hermitage Capital which was accused of tax evasion by Russian authorities. Magnitsky was arrested on fraud charges in November 2008 and found dead in a Moscow detention center in November 2009.
In 2014 Moscow's Tverskoy District Court found Magnitsky guilty of tax evasion and closed the case due to his death. According to the case materials, Magnitsky’s and Hermitage Capital director William Browder’s actions cost the Russian Federation over 500 million rubles (about $7.7 mln). Browder was sentenced to nine years in prison in absentia.
The lawyer’s death resulted in a huge public response. The defendants in the case included ex-chief of the Butyrsky Detention Facility, Dmitry Kratov, and the facility’s doctor, Larisa Litvinova. The criminal case against Litvinova was closed due to changes in the criminal code, under which the statute of limitations had expired. Kratov, who was charged with improper execution of his duties, was found not guilty by the Tverskoy District Court since there was no relationship found between his actions and Magnitsky’s death.
Sergei Magnitsky's mother appealed the ruling in the Moscow City Court and requested the case be reopened. The court rejected the appeal.
Following a public campaign for justice in Magnitsky’s case, President Obama signed The Magnitsky Act in December 2012. The act bans Russian officials thought to be connected with the lawyer’s death from entering the US, as well as freezing their US-based assets.