MOSCOW, December 20 (RAPSI) – The US Embassy in Moscow could not officially confirm the information that the White House allegedly decided to halt the expansion of so-called Magnitsky List.

Citing a congressman, US news portal the Daily Beast, reported that the White House had decided not to expand the Magnitsky list, which already contains the names of 18 Russian citizens who had visa and economic sanctions imposed against them.

The publication reported that the decision not to revise the list was made by Barack Obama’s administration at the last moment.

“We cannot confirm anything as of yet,” a representative of American embassy told RIA Novosti on Friday. The source added that any information concerning the issue will come either from the White House or the US State Department.

Earlier, international media reports had speculated that US might add up to 20 additional names to the list.

The list was authorized under the Magnitsky Act, a US law designed to punish officials believed to be connected to the 2009 death of whistleblowing Russian lawyer Sergei Magnitsky in a Moscow jail. The legislation was later broadened to include a range of alleged Russian rights abusers.

The law, which was enacted by US President Barack Obama on December 14, 2012, has been a central factor in the deterioration of ties between the United States and Russia over the past 18 months.