MOSCOW, August 7 (RAPSI’s Diana Gutsul reporting) – The Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation has denied the reinvestigation request of the mother of the Hermitage Capital Management investment fund’s auditor Sergei Magnitsky regarding the circumstances of his death, as well as an independent medical examination, corporate officials told RAPSI on Thursday.
A document signed by D. Kolesnikov, Head of the Office for the Investigation of Particularly Important Cases Involving Crimes Against the State and the Economy, notes that it was decided to close the case after the investigation, and that there are no legal grounds to rescind this decision.
Sergei Magnitsky was an auditor at the Moscow-based law firm Firestone Duncan, and represented the investment advisory firm Hermitage Capital Management, which was accused of tax evasion and tax fraud by the Russian Interior Ministry. He was arrested on fraud charges in November 2008 and later was found dead in his Moscow cell on November 16, 2009. According to the Prosecutor General's Office, his death was caused by heart failure.
The case was closed after his death, only to be reopened later. Under Russian law, individuals can be prosecuted after their death if the case was ongoing at the time of the death. On July 11, the Tverskoi District Court in Moscow convicted Magnitsky, the former British Hermitage Capital Managament auditor, of tax evasion.
Magnitsky and William Browder, the co-founder of the Hermitage Capital Management fund, were convicted after the trial determined that they deprived the Russian budget of over 500 million rubles in revenue. The court sentenced Browder in absentia to nine years in prison.
Magnitsky’s death caused a public outcry. Dmitry Kratov, the former deputy warden of Moscow’s Butyrka prison, and investigatory isolation ward doctor Larisa Litvinova faced charges in this case. The Investigatory Committee closed the case against Litvinova due to amendments in the national Criminal Code on reducing the statute of limitations for the clause under which she was charged. The Tverskoi District Court cleared Kratov because it saw no link between his actions and Magnitsky’s death. A defense attorney for Magnitsky’s mother appealed this verdict and demanded the investigation be reopened, but the court ruled against his appeal.