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New probe launched into possible poisoning of Magnitsky

According to investigators, the cause of the auditor's death might have been a chemical agent containing aluminum, which could have triggered acute liver failure
Sergei Magnitsky  Hermitage Capital/TASS
Sergei Magnitsky
© Hermitage Capital/TASS

MOSCOW, September 25. /TASS/. Russian investigators have launched a new probe into the case of Hermitage Capital auditor Sergei Magnitsky to check the version claiming that a poisoning agent might have caused his death, Nikolai Gorokhov, attorney representing Magnitsky’s mother, informed TASS.

"Currently, the investigation is conducting a new probe into the Magnitsky case. We have not been acquainted with the materials of the probe, however, I think that it is related to the version of the lawyer’s poisoning by a military-grade poisoning agent. This version was first voiced during a press conference at the Russian Prosecutor General’s Office in 2018," the attorney said.

In late November 2018, Alexander Kurennoi, who held the position of the Russian Prosecutor General’s Office spokesman at that time, said during a briefing that there are grounds to consider the version of Sergei Magnitsky’s poisoning by chemical agents containing aluminum as "likely." The spokesman said that the probes carried out by that time suggested that the poisoning could have taken place.

On November 24, 2008, Sergei Magnitsky, an executive partner at the Firestone Duncan audit company and an auditor at Hermitage Capiital, was detained on charges of complicity in tax evasion. On November 26, Moscow’s Tverskoi District Court put him in custody. In October 2009, Magnitsky and Hermitage Capital founder William Browder were charged with tax evasion estimated at 522 mln rubles ($7.9 mln). Having spent 11 months at the Butyrka pre-trial detention center, Magnitsky eventually died on November 16, 2009. The criminal case against Magnitsky was dismissed on November 30, 2009, due to his death.

On November 19, 2018, the Russian Prosecutor General’s Office informed that criminal proceedings had been launched against Browder over the formation of a criminal community. Besides, the investigation said that he might have been involved in the death of his partners, including Magnitsky. He and other partners of Browder that were under criminal investigation might have been poisoned by a chemical agent containing aluminum. It might have caused acute liver failure, which could be mistaken for death from natural causes. According to Russian investigators, Browder was the one most likely to benefit from Magnitsky’s death.