January 9, 2017
For Imediate distribution
US Government Sanctions Further Russian Human Rights Violators Under Magnitsky Act
9 January 2017 – The US Government has sanctioned further individuals in the Magnitsky case, including its most high-profile designation to date – Alexander Bastrykin, head of the Russian State Investigative Committee.
“The Magnitsky sanctions are the most effective tool available today for fighting the impunity of corrupt officials in Russia. Today’s release of the new names includes the highest level government official to date, Alexander Bastrykin. In addition to the role he played in the Magnitsky case, he has been responsible for many other shocking human rights abuse cases. His inclusion on this list is a major victory in our fight for justice in Russia,” said William Browder, leader of global Magnitsky justice campaign.
Alexander Bastrykin, in his capacity as head of the Investigative Committee, personally oversaw the investigations into the false arrest, torture and death in Russian police custody of Sergei Magnitsky who had uncovered the US$230 million theft by Russian officials.
In spite of the conclusions of the Russian President’s Human Rights Council on the wrongful arrest of Sergei Magnitsky and the conflict of interest of implicated officials, the Bastrykin-led Investigative Committee closed the death investigation, finding no crime was committed by any Russian officials.
Bastrykin directed and publicly justified the exoneration of all officials involved. In his interview to the Russian state newspaper, Rossiiskaya Gazeta, on 7 September 2010, Alexander Bastrykin said:
“There is no ground to think that his [Magnitsky’s] death was connected to actions of officials who prosecuted him. There is no objective information showing that he was prosecuted illegally or that the physical and psychological pressure was applied to him.”
Another sanctioned official under today’s designations is Stanislav Gordievsky from the Russian Investigative Committee, to whom Sergei Magnitsky gave testimony on 5 June 2008 and 7 October 2008 identifying the officials and organised criminals involved in the theft of companies and the US$230 million of tax monies from the Russian government.
The names in Magnitsky’s testimony included Lt Col Artem Kuznetsov, Major Pavel Karpov, lawyers working for the criminal group Andrei Pavlov and Yulia Mairova and others. Instead of properly investigating the fraud and bringing the officials exposed by Magnitsky to justice, investigator Gordievsky requested one of the main named suspects – Lt Col Kuznetsov – to investigate himself – and then Gordievsky exonerated Kuznetsov from any wrong-doing.
In the subsequent testimony of 14 October 2009 from pre-trial detention, Sergei Magnitsky described this cover up in great detail:
“The same authorized operative Kuznetsov …provided the operational assistance on the case …initiated by the Investigative Committee… on the subject of the theft of the companies. In addition, he was providing operational assistance on the criminal case under which I was accused. I believe that the criminal prosecution against me is the above person’s revenge against me, because during my meetings with investigator S.E. Gordievsky… I …expressed my opinion that Kuznetsov …. should be interrogated about the circumstances of stealing…., instead of being allowed to perform operational assistance on the case investigated by S.E. Gordievsky.”
A third individual included today in the US Government’s Magnitsky list is Gennady Plaksin. Gennady Plaksin was a member of the Klyuev Organised Crime Group, and chairman of the board and nominal shareholder of Universal Savings Bank on behalf of Dmitry Klyuev, who is already subject to Magnitsky sanctions. Mr Plaksin appeared as a nominal claimant in a collusive court case orchestrated by the criminal group to steal US$230 million from the Russian government. Plaksin was involved in the creation of US$325 million of fictitious liabilities. Despite the evidence of his role in the US$230 million theft uncovered by Sergei Magnitsky, Mr Plaksin was exonerated in Russia.
The US$230 million fraud was a sophisticated criminal conspiracy perpetrated in Russia to steal US$230 million of taxes paid by the three Russian companies of the Hermitage Fund, at the time the largest portfolio investor in Russia. The planning of the fraud scheme took place abroad, and money laundering of a substantial portion of the US$230 million fraud proceeds also took place outside of Russia and involved multiple international banks and accounts.
Hermitage’s outside lawyer Sergei Magnitsky uncovered the US$230 million fraud scheme and testified against those involved, including Andrei Pavlov.
Shortly thereafter, the Russian authorities arrested Sergei Magnitsky, and tried to force him to change his testimony subjecting him to cruel and degrading treatment during 358 days in pre-trial detention. When their attempts failed, Sergei Magnitsky was killed in Russian police detention at the age of 37, leaving a wife and two children.
The events of the Magnitsky case are described in the New-York Times best-seller “Red Notice” by William Browder and in a series of Magnitsky justice campaign videos on Youtube channel “Russian Untouchables.”
For more information, please contact:
Justice for Sergei Magnitsky
+44 207 440 1777