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Prosecutor to present Magnitsky, Browder tax evasion evidence

March 27, 2013, 8:28 UTC+3

At the previous hearing, the lawyers of Magnitsky and Browder refused to comment on the charges against their clients in the tax evasion case

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MOSCOW, March 27 (Itar-Tass) Moscow's Tverskoi court on Wednesday will continue to hear the case against auditor of Britain's Hermitage Capital Management foundation Sergei Magnitsky who died in a remand prison, and director general of the foundation, British citizen William Browder, accused of failing to pay 522 million roubles worth of taxes.

The prosecutor for the state is expected to begin to present the evidence.

At the previous hearing, the lawyers of Magnitsky and Browder refused to comment on the charges against their clients in the tax evasion case.

"We have nothing to say; we doubt we should participate in the trial at all," Magnitsky's lawyer Nikolai Gerasimov said. The court-appointed defense is skeptical about their role. At previous hearings, the lawyers repeatedly requested the court to let them withdraw from the trial or drop the proceedings, but the court insisted on going ahead with the review.

Earlier, Magnitsky's family informed the court it would not attend the hearing which it called "illegitimate and unjustified." Browder's representatives also ignored the hearings.

Magnitsky and Browder are accused of failing to pay over 522 million roubles of taxes /Article 199, Part 2 of Russia's penal code/. The investigators said the defendants had fabricated tax declarations and misused incentives intended for handicapped persons. Police also suspect Browder of involvement in the theft of Gazprom shares. This episode made a separate criminal case.

Sergei Magnitsky, 37, died in the hospital of the Matrosskaya Tishina remand prison on November 111, 2009, 11 months after he was placed under arrest and seven days after being charged. Previously, he had been kept in the Butyrka prison. Investigators said Magnitsky had not been given proper treatment on time as his health had sharply deteriorated.

Criminal proceedings against Magnitsky were dropped on November 20, 2009 in connection with his death. The investigation was resumed on August 9, 2001, per orders by the Prosecutor General's Office which based its decision upon the ruling by the Constitutional Court dated July 14, 2011.

PGO spokeswoman Marina Gridneva said the trial of Browder was held in absentia because he had refused to appear in court while Great Britain had refused to cooperate with Russia in this issue.


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