New Russian Interior Ministry Investigator Denies Liability of Officials in the Tax Thefts Exposed by Sergei Magnitsky

November 21, 2012

Today, Jamison Firestone, the former law partner of Sergei Magnitsky, received a letter from the Russian Interior Ministry stating that it exonerated all government officials from any liability for the theft from the Russian treasury of $230 million and their laundering of that money through the Russian and international banking systems. The decision was made by a new Interior Ministry officer in charge of the investigation, Investigator R. Filippov, and issued by his superior, General Major Y.Shinin, Deputy Head of the Interior Ministry’s Investigative Department.
The Interior Ministry letter stated: “Currently, there is no data whatsoever in the criminal case files about the complicity of officials in the investigated crime…No data has been obtained indicating the complicity of officers of law enforcement and tax bodies in the above stated theft.”
The Interior Ministry letter was in reply to a complaint filed by Jamison Firestone on 1 August 2012 with all Russian investigative bodies, asking to investigate the role of the Klyuev criminal organization and connected government officials in the tax refund fraud of $230 million and its cover up.
The Interior Ministry’s findings were in direct contradiction to the conclusions of the Russian Human Rights Council under President Medvedev and the numerous applications to the Russian authorities evidencing the complicity of officials of Interior Ministry, tax officials and judges in perpetrating and covering up the crime. The findings also contradict the existence of luxury foreign real estate and Swiss bank accounts linked to Russian officials, whose value was well in excess of their official government incomes.
The criminal case to investigate the theft and money laundering of $230 million from the Russian treasury was opened on orders from Russian Deputy General Prosecutor Victor Grin given last June. The case was assigned to Investigator R. Filippov of the Interior Ministry’s Investigative Committee, who included in the case files false allegations that Sergei Magnitsky was involved in the very same crime that Magnitsky discovered and blew the whistle on. Investigator Filippov cited purported testimony from dead people and convicted felons to justify his accusation against Magnitsky. An earlier complaint from Magnitsky’s mother challenging this posthumous accusation issued by Investigator Filippov was refused by the Russian court on the ground that those allegations were still the ‘subject of investigation’.
Sergei Magnitsky was arrested after he testified about the involvement of officials in a $230 million tax rebate fraud. Since his death, those officials have been exonerated, promoted and awarded state honours, and then initiated the posthumous case against Sergei Magnitsky, the first ever in Russian legal history.


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