17 February 2017 – Today, the Tverskoi District Court in Moscow reissued an arrest warrant for William Browder, head of the Magnitsky Justice Campaign, and his colleague, Ivan Cherkasov, in the latest act of retaliation against the campaigners.
The Russian arrest warrant is in clear response to the global roll-out of the Magnitsky sanctions legislation. In December 2016, the US Global Magnitsky Act was signed by the US president, and on the same day the Estonian Magnitsky Act was signed by Estonia’s president.
In the following month, Russian authorities scurried to produce multiple decrees leading to the current arrest warrant.
The arrest warrant approved by judge Gordeev is issued under the long-running criminal proceedings, orchestrated by the Russian FSB, and used in July 2013 to conduct the posthumous trial against Sergei Magnitsky and in absentia Mr Browder (case No 153123, from which a file was separated and given a new number No 41701007754000008).
The repeat arrest warrant has been immediately dispatched to the Russian National Central Bureau of Interpol.
Russian attempts to use Interpol in their attack against William Browder have been rejected by Interpol three times since 2013 as politically motivated and in violation of Interpol’s Rules.
The UK authorities have also refused multiple requests by Russia for mutual legal assistance in the proceedings against William Browder and his colleague because the British government deemed such assistance would be contrary to UK’s public order, sovereignty and other national interests.
The repeat Russian arrest warrant for Messrs Browder and Cherkasov is the fourth attempt by Russian authorities to try to misuse the mechanisms of international legal cooperation for political purposes.
To justify their repeat arrest warrant, the Russian authorities continue to rely on stale allegations of corporate tax evasion, in spite of the fact that the paid taxes had been stolen by a group of Russian officials in the US$230 mln tax rebate fraud exposed by Sergei Magnitsky.
The latest arrest warrant also alleges that Browder and Cherkasov were involved in “false bankruptcy.” This allegation was made by Russian General Prosecutor Chaika who accused Browder of funding a video exposing the abuse and corruption by Chaika’s family, in which Browder had no involvement.
In support of the repeat arrest warrant, the Russian Interior Ministry produced documents from FSB, Russia’s security service, including testimony obtained from a Russian national at the FSB’s regional headquarters, where, according to him and his lawyer, he was pressured and threatened with death “like Magnitsky.”
The arrest warrant is signed by Russian Interior Ministry Investigator Ranchenkov and sanctioned by a senior Interior Ministry official Krakovsky. Other Russian officials participating in this proceeding are prosecutor of the General Prosecutor’s Office Kulikov and Russian tax service official Mostovoi, previously involved in the posthumous trial against Sergei Magnitsky, acting on power of attorney signed by the head of the Russian tax service Mishustin.
For more information, please contact:
Justice for Sergei Magnitsky
+44 207 440 1777