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Ministry: Hermitage Capital statements attempt to discredit law enforcement agencies

January 15, 2014, 12:15 UTC+3 MOSCOW
Several media outlets have earlier made a report with the reference to the press service of the company that late Magnitsky allegedly named a defendant in a new criminal case
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© AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko

MOSCOW, January 15. /ITAR-TASS/. Detectives find statements of British foundation Hermitage Capital, in which Sergey Magnitsky has worked as an auditor, but then died at a Moscow detention centre in 2009, as another attempt to discredit actions of Russian law enforcement agencies for the public, the Russian Interior Ministry reported at its website on Wednesday.

Several media outlets have earlier made a report with the reference to the press service of the company that Magnitsky allegedly named a defendant in a new criminal case over 5.4 billion ruble fraud ($162.4 million) and a report about allegedly neglected requests from Magnitsky’s family made in the investigation department of the country’s Interior Ministry.

“Detectives are investigating a scheme of financial transactions and other deals carried out with embezzled monetary funds in 2007-2008 and are searching for offenders involved in money laundering,” the ministry noted.

“Active action of detectives to this effect raise concerns of people involved in the affair that try to shape a negative attitude to the investigation making false statements in the media and to put into question the results of investigation,” the ministry said.

“For instance, the reports about neglected pleas from Magnitsky’s family made in the investigation department of the Russian Interior Ministry are untrue. All requests from the lawyer of Magnitsky’s mother were considered by detectives in the lawful way with the responses sent to the requesting party,” the Interior Ministry said. Meanwhile, the ministry noted that Magnitsky’s relatives were informed officially many times that Magnitsky is not sued within the investigation of the money laundering case opened in 2011.

“Despite insistent attempts of people acting on behalf of Hermitage Capital foundation such actions will not affect unbiased nature of the investigation of this criminal case. The public will be informed about the results of investigation upon the end of preliminary probe,” the ministry noted.

Sergey Magnitsky died at the age of 37 in the intensive therapy ward at a hospital of the Matrosskaya Tishina detention centre on November 16, 2009, after 11 months of keeping under arrest and seven days after the accusation was brought against him. Before the transfer to the hospital, he had been kept at the Butyrskaya prison. The detectives have found that Magnitsky did not receive timely medical treatment and an adequate therapy course, when his state of health had worsened sharply.

The criminal case was terminated against Magnitsky over his death on November 30, 2009. The investigation was resumed on August 9, 2011, on the instruction from the Russian Prosecutor General’s Office that was based on a verdict by the Russian Constitutional Court of July 14, 2011.

Magnitsky’s family refused to participate in the trial, finding it unlawful and groundless.

On July 11, 2013, Tverskoy court in Moscow has found guilty head of British foundation Hermitage Capital William Browder and auditor of the foundation Sergey Magnitsky of two episodes of tax evasion to the tune of more than 522 billion rubles ($15.7 billion). Browder was sentenced in absentia to nine years in prison. Magnitsky was relieved from punishment; the criminal case versus him was terminated over his death that is not a rehabilitating ground.

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