1 February 2013 – Today it was reported by RIA-Novosti Russian news service that Russian law enforcement agencies have begun investigating Sergei Magnitsky for allegedly being responsible for the Russian default during the 1998 financial crisis. This is the fourth posthumous accusation put forward by Russian authorities, who refuse to investigate officials responsible for the thefts uncovered by Mr Magnitsky, his arrest, ill-treatment and death in custody. Mr Magnitsky died more than three years ago, on 16 November 2009 when he was found dead on the cell floor after the use of rubber batons and handcuffs.
“The Russian authorities look like they have gone completely mad,” said a Hermitage Capital representative. “In their attempt to escape from US and EU visa and financial sanctions for the death of Mr Magnitsky, they are coming up with crazier and crazier attacks against Magnitsky in the hope of clouding the debate about who killed him and why.”
RIA Novosti reported that a source in the Russian law enforcement agencies said “We can talk about fraudulent schemes before the default in Russia in 1998, when the Federal Reserve Bank of New York wired $4.8 billion intended for the stabilization of operations of the Central Bank of Russia to the account of Republic National Bank of a Browder’s companion Edmond Safra. Subsequently, it was not possible to trace the money, Safra died in the fire in Monaco in 1999,” (http://russian.rt.com/Russia/
The same source told RIA Novosti that the Russian law enforcement agencies are initiating a further posthumous case against Magnitsky for “illegal purchasing of Gazprom shares”. The trading of Gazprom shares by locally-held branches of foreign firms was reviewed at the time by the Russian Federal Securities Commission, who found that those purchases were in compliance with Russian law. The purchase of Gazprom local shares by foreigners was organized by Gazprom’s own bank as well as dozens of market participants.
“Following the ban on adopting orphan’s, the expulsion of USAID, the termination of cooperation in drug trafficking, the Russian government is now issuing multiple posthumous accusations against Sergei Magnitsky, one more outrageous than the next, and clearly following a political order from the very top,” said a Hermitage Capital representative.
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