MOSCOW, December 22. /TASS/. The son of Russian Prosecutor General Yuri Chaika, Artem, said in an RBC interview the US sanctions against him were an attempt to put pressure on prosecutors.
According to Chaika, Russian prosecutors "from the very outset have been consistently defending the interests of our country on the international arena and, for many years, have been countering a transnational group of fraudsters, on whose initiative the Magnitsky Act was adopted."
"This is not the first time that Western forces are trying to baselessly tarnish the reputation of my business. But let me remind that competent authorities in a number of European states, including Switzerland and Greece, ruled that I do my business solely by lawful methods," he said.
The US Department of the Treasury said in a report on December 21 that the US imposed sanctions on Chaika within the framework of the so-called Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act. The report claims Chaika "has leveraged his father’s position and ability to award his subordinates to unfairly win state-owned assets and contracts and put pressure on business competitors".
The Magnitsky Rule of Law Accountability Act, which came into effect on December 2012, was named after an auditor working for Hermitage Capital Management, a British investment fund, who was arrested on charge of creating illegal tax evasion schemes for the fund. While under investigation, Magnitsky accused a number of Russian officials of corruption. In November 2009, he died in a pre-trial detention center in Moscow, as stated by representatives of Hermitage Capital, after being denied essential medical care.
In late October, Yuri Chaika said he requested US Attorney General Jefferson Sessions to launch a criminal case against Hermitage Capital founder William Browder. He also informed Sessions that the Magnitsky Act "was adopted for no actual reason, while it was lobbied by people who had conducted crimes in Russia." He also requested the US attorney general to appoint "an independent prosecutor to carry out the probe."
On July 11, 2013, Moscow’s Tverskoy District Court found Browder guilty in absentia of large-scale tax evasion (estimated at 522 mln rubles - $9 mln) and sentenced him to nine years in prison. He was also deprived of the right to do business for two years.