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Magnitsky could be convicted posthumously if the relatives do not give up trying to defend his honor

February 07, 2012, 9:25 UTC+3

"Hermitage Capital" informs that the preliminary investigation of the case is completed

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MOSCOW, February 7. (ITAR-TASS ). The investigator may drop the criminal case against the auditor of Britain's Hermitage Capital Management fund Sergei Magnitsky, accused of abetting tax evasion, who died in a remand prison hospital, an official of the Fund told Itar-Tass on Tuesday citing investigator Boris Kibis.

"I repeat that given a lack of interest on the part of his relatives, which warrants further review of the case, as well as a lack of the wish to protect honor and dignity of the deceased, the probe into the criminal case might be stopped," Kibis said in a letter forwarded to Sergei Magnitsky's family.

According to the Fund's official, the relatives of the diseased believe that "the only way to avoid posthumous conviction of Sergei Magnitsky will be waiver by his relatives of the fight to defend his honor and dignity."

The letter said that preliminary investigation into the case against Magnitsky was completed.

"After the lawyers read the case materials, it will be sent to a court for posthumous conviction of Magnitsky and in-absentia conviction of Hermitage Capital Management head William Browder," the Fund's official said referring to the letter.

Yelena Oreshnikova, lawyer of Magnitsky's widow, confirmed that she had been notified by the investigators about completion of the preliminary investication. At the same time, she declined to answer if Sergei Magnitsky's widow would read the case materials or participate in the proceedings in case they took place.

"The case was reopened not at the initiative of Sergei Magnitsky's relatives. They believe it was illegitimate and imposed by the investigator. So I cannot yet tell if we'll participate in the trial," Oreshnikova said.

Sergei Magnitsky, 37, died in an IT ward of the hospital on the premises of the Matrosskaya Tishina remand prison on November 16, 2009, seven days after he was officially charged with organizing and abetting grand tax evasion. He had spent 11 months in custody.

Forensic experts said Magnitsky died of a combination of several illnesses, and untimely medical assistance as his health sharply deteriorated.

The case against Magnitsky was dropped because of his death on November 30, 2009. Investigators believe the auditor had invented a tax evasion scheme for Hermitage Capital Management. The investigation was later reopened at the instruction of the Prosecutor General's Office, based on a Constitutional Court's ruling. The relatives categorically objected to it.

The Investigative Committee later said it needed consent of all close relatives of Magnitsky, in order to stop criminal prosecution.


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