Constitutional Law

Lawyer Who Died in Russian Prison is Now Accused of $230M Fraud

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In a move that has elicited gasps of outrage from supporters of a lawyer who died a year ago in a Russian prison, officials there are now accusing Sergei Magnitsky, on the anniversary of the 37-year-old attorney’s death, of having orchestrated a complex $230 million corporate tax-refund fraud.

In fact, Magnitsky supporters say, it was police officers associated with the Russian government who took the money and fabricated evidence against Magnitsky, in a swindle that involved the wrongful transfer of corporate ownership and assets, reports the Washington Post.

“They spent the last year trying to figure out how to make this go away,” said his former colleague, Jamison Firestone, who serves as managing partner of the Firestone Duncan law firm at which Magnitsky once worked. “Now they want to pin it on Magnitsky.”

An American investor who was Magnitsky’s client calls the accusation against the deceased lawyer “pure evil.”

In a BBC News article this week that offers extensive comments by Lieutenant-Colonel Oleg Silchenko, however, the senior Russian police officer says that there is evidence of Magnitsky’s guilt.

“The attempt to accuse law enforcement agencies of involvement in this crime is absurd,” says Silchenko.

Related prior coverage: “Civil Practice Puts Russian Lawyers at Risk of Violence and Criminal Charges” “Russian Lawyer, 37, Dies in Prison After Pursuing Claimed Kremlin Fraud” “Kremlin Fires Prison Head, 19 Staff, After Death of Jailed Lawyer”

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