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Court to announce verdict on Magnitsky, Browder case on July 11

July 03, 2013, 14:35 UTC+3
They are accused of failing to pay 522 million roubles worth of taxes
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MOSCOW, July 3 (Itar-Tass) - Moscow's Tverskoi court on July 11 will announce a verdict in the tax evasion case against auditor of Britain's Hermitage Capital Management Sergei Magnitsky, who died in a remand prison, and director general of the foundation, British citizen William Browder. They are accused of failing to pay 522 million roubles worth of taxes, Judge Igor Alisov said on Wednesday.

Prosecutors demanded that Browder be sentenced in absentia to nine years in a general regime penitentiary. Magnitsky should be exempt from punishment in connection with his death and his criminal prosecution must be dropped.

The defense asked the court to acquit Browder and exonerate Magnitsky.

Magnitsky's lawyer Nikolai Gerasimov reiterated at the hearing that criminal prosecution of his client without the consent of his relatives was illegal. "The investigator had no right to resume the case against Magnitsky without a statement from his relative; I'm asking to return the case to prosecutor's office to stop criminal prosecution," the lawyer said.

For his part, Browder's representative Kirill Goncharov said the case was fabricated and initiated by corrupt law-enforcement personnel: "there are many questions in the case which give reasons to believe that it is illegal and violates my client's rights."

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.

Prosecutor General's Office 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

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. The defendants are represented by court-appointed lawyers.

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