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UK Magnitsky Asset Freezing Legislation Passed the Second Reading in the House of Lords

March 16, 2017

PRESS RELEASE
For Immediate distribution

 

UK Magnitsky Asset Freezing Legislation Passed the Second Reading in the House of Lords 

16 March 2017 – The UK House of Lords approved in its second reading the Magnitsky asset freezing legislation, which will allow the British government to freeze the assets of human rights abusers. The bill is now slated for a line-by-line examination in the House of Lords on 28 March 2017.

“I welcome the fact that we have taken action, sending a clear statement that we will not allow human rights abusers to launder their criminal assets through the UK,” said Baroness Williams of Trafford, Minister of State at the Home Office, introducing the proposed Magnitsky legislation.

Under this new legislation, assets of those involved in gross human rights violations abroad will be subject to civil recovery by the British government. The initiative was inspired by the case of Sergei Magnitsky:

“We have amended the Bill … to allow for the civil recovery of any proceeds of gross human rights abuse overseas. This amendment was prompted by the horrific treatment of Sergei Magnitsky, a Russian tax lawyer. …Magnitsky’s treatment was truly shocking, and it is only one example of the many atrocious human rights violations committed globally every year,” said Baroness Williams of Trafford.

Baroness Stern said:

“The victims of grand corruption are too many to count… The Magnitsky amendment represents a huge step forward and I was very glad to hear the Minister talk about human rights abuses around the world in this connection. Some argue that grand corruption should be classified as a human rights abuse; I find that argument convincing.”

Lord Rooker said:

“I salute Mr Browder for his dedication and perseverance in trying to bring those guilty of the murder of his lawyer to justice… Chasing them legally around the world, and now in this Bill, is a must.”

Baroness Hamwee said:

“Corruption and the infringement of human rights go hand in hand. I welcome the Magnitsky amendment.”

In closing the debate, Baroness Williams of Trafford talked about the government ensuring that “the Magnitsky power will be used” in cases where there is evidence “to satisfy a court on the balance of probabilities that property in the UK is the proceeds of gross human rights abuses or violations overseas.”

The events of the Magnitsky case are described in the international best-seller “Red Notice” by William Browder and in a series of Magnitsky justice campaign videos on Youtubechannel “Russian Untouchables.”

 

For more information, please contact:

Justice for Sergei Magnitsky

+44 207 440 1777

e-mail: info@lawandorderinrussia.org

www.lawandorderinrussia.org

billbrowder.com

twitter.com/Billbrowder

 



Today the UK Parliament Passed Historic Magnitsky Asset Freezing Sanctions

February 21, 2017

Press Release

For Immediate Distribution

 

Today the UK Parliament Passed Historic Magnitsky Asset Freezing Sanctions 

21 February 2017 – Today the UK House of Commons unanimously passed the UK Magnitsky Sanctions legislation.

The Magnitsky Sanctions legislation was voted on as part of the UK Criminal Finances Bill. It will allow the British government to freeze assets of human rights abusers in the UK. The Magnitsky Sanctions amendment which passed was submitted by UK Home Secretary Amber Rudd.

“The new Magnitsky Sanctions Legislation is going to cause perceptible fear for kleptocrats in Russia and other authoritarian regimes. They all have expensive properties in London and think they are untouchable,” said William Browder, leader of the global Magnitsky Justice Campaign and author of “Red Notice: How I Became Putin’s No 1 Enemy.”

This effort is the result of seven years of advocacy in the name of the late Sergei Magnitsky who uncovered and testified about the US$230 million corruption scheme perpetrated by Russian officials and was killed for his whistle-blowing,” said William Browder.

“Should the House of Lords pass this into law, the UK will be the second country in Europe to pass Magnitsky sanctions and will set a strong example for the rest of Europe,” said William Browder.

The new UK Magnitsky sanctions legislation introduces gross human rights abuse as part of the unlawful conduct, to which civil recovery powers can now be applied under Part 5 of the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002.

The UK Magnitsky legislation protects those who “have sought to expose the illegal activity carried out by a public official or a person acting in an official capacity, or to obtain, exercise, defend or promote human rights and fundamental freedoms.” (full text here).

Sergei Magnitsky was a Russian lawyer who uncovered the massive corruption perpetrated systematically by Russian officials and organized criminals, which included thefts from the Russian treasury, including the theft of US$230 million in 2007. Instead of pursuing the officials who approved the thefts, the Russian government arrested Sergei Magnitsky and put him in pre-trial detention, where he was tortured for 358 days and killed at the age of 37. All officials implicated in his torture and the multi-million dollar thefts have been exonerated.

In response to the impunity demonstrated by the Magnitsky case in Russia, the US passed the Russia-focused Magnitsky Act enacting US asset freezes and visa bans in 2012 and the Global Magnitsky Act which applies to human rights violators around the world in 2016. Estonia passed its Global Magnitsky Act legislation in 2016. Currently, Canada and the EU are considering their own versions of Magnitsky sanctions as well.

“The new UK Magnitsky Legislation deals with asset freezing on human rights abusers. We will continue to campaign for visa sanctions on human rights abusers in the UK under separate legislation,” said Magnitsky campaign leader William Browder.

 

For more information, please contact:

Justice for Sergei Magnitsky

+44 207 440 1777

e-mail: info@lawandorderinrussia.org

www.lawandorderinrussia.org

billbrowder.com

twitter.com/Billbrowder

 



Russia Reissues Arrest Warrant for William Browder and his Magnitsky Justice Campaign Colleague

February 17, 2017

Press Release

For Immediate Distribution

 

Russia Reissues Arrest Warrant for William Browder and his Magnitsky Justice Campaign Colleague

 

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

e-mail: info@lawandorderinrussia.org

www.lawandorderinrussia.org

billbrowder.com

twitter.com/Billbrowder

 



US Government Sanctions Further Russian Human Rights Violators Under Magnitsky Act

January 9, 2017

PRESS RELEASE

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

e-mail: info@lawandorderinrussia.org

www.lawandorderinrussia.org

billbrowder.com

twitter.com/Billbrowder

 



Magnitsky Campaign Releases Names of 28 Russian Officials Currently Involved in the Posthumous Cases Against Magnitsky for Inclusion on New International Sanctions Lists

December 27, 2016

PRESS RELEASE

For Immediate Distribution

Magnitsky Campaign Releases Names of 28 Russian Officials Currently Involved in the Posthumous Cases Against Magnitsky for Inclusion on New International Sanctions Lists

 

27 December 2016 – Today, the Global Campaign for Justice for Sergei Magnitsky published a list of 28 Russian officials involved in current criminal cases against Sergei Magnitsky in spite of the fact that he was killed in police custody in 2009.

 

The list includes 28 officials from the Russian Interior Ministry, Prosecutor’s Office, FSB and the Investigative Committee.

 

The release of these new names coincides with the consideration or passage of Magnitsky sanctions legislation in the United States, Canada, the U.K., Estonia and at the EU.

 

The two Russian officials who had instigated the persecution of Sergei Magnitsky posthumously – Deputy General Prosecutor Victor Grin and Interior Ministry investigator Oleg Urzhumtsev – have already been sanctioned under the “Sergei Magnitsky Rule of Law Accountability Act.

 

The Russian officials listed below have rejected numerous complaints filed by Magnitsky’s mother, Natalia Magnitskaya.

Mrs Magnitskaya’s most recent complaint filed by her lawyer with the Russian authorities seeking to end the posthumous persecution of her son, said:

 

It is currently known that the same criminal group [which stole US$230 million] perpetrated a number of similar crimes, and the amount of funds stolen from the budget is about US$800 million. S. Magnitsky was placed into custody on 24 November 2008 soon after he gave testimony implicating members of this criminal group. In a little less than a year, on 16 November 2009, he was found dead in the cell of the collection unit of Matrosskaya Tishina detention center. The location and nature of injuries on his body indisputably testify to the violent causes of the death of S.Magnitsky.

After S. Magnitsky was physically eliminated, investigator O. Urzhumtsev created a knowingly false version of the crime, as purportedly committed by S. Magnitsky himself, which was aimed to compromise the deceased and was monstrous in its cynicism and injustice.”

The Russian Interior Ministry refused Mrs Magnitskaya’s complaint against her son’s posthumous persecution on the ground that Mrs Magnitskaya did not have a procedural status to lodge this complaint, and said:

“The investigation sees no grounds to treat Mrs Magnitskaya as a person whose interests are affected by the criminal prosecution.”

 

The refusal of Mrs Magnitskaya’s complaint was prepared by Russian Interior Ministry investigator Ranchenkov pursuant to a criminal case about the laundered US$230 million proceeds of fraud – the crime uncovered by Sergei Magnitsky and in which he is being posthumously accused by the Russian authorities. This posthumous proceeding is currently overseen by deputy head of the Russian Interior Ministry’s Investigative Department Krakovsky and deputy head of the Interior Ministry’s Directorate of Investigations of Organised Criminal Activity Shneiderman.

 

List of Officials Persecuting Sergei Magnitsky Posthumously – 2011-2016:

 

  1. R. Filippov – investigator of the Russian Interior Ministry’s Investigative Department, responsible for the posthumous persecution of Sergei Magnitsky under case No 678540
  2. P. Tambovtsev – investigator of the Russian Interior Ministry’s Investigative Department, responsible for the posthumous persecution of Sergei Magnitsky under case No 678540
  3. A. Ranchenkov – investigator of the Russian Interior Ministry’s Investigative Department, responsible for the posthumous persecution of Sergei Magnitsky under case No 678540
  4. Y. Shinin – first deputy head of the Russian Interior Ministry’s Investigative Department who sanctioned the posthumous persecution of Sergei Magnitsky
  5. M. Alexandrov – head of Directorate of Investigations of Organised Crime and Corruption of the Russian Interior Ministry’s Investigative Department, deputy head of the Interior Ministry’s Investigative Department, and then deputy head of the General Prosecutor’s Office Directorate of the Oversight over Investigations of Especially Important Cases, overseeing cases against Sergei Magnitsky posthumously
  6. A. Saribzhanov – deputy head of Directorate of Investigations of Organised Crime and Corruption of the Russian Interior Ministry’s Investigative Department who refused complaint from Magnitsky’s mother against the posthumous persecution of her son
  7. S. Shamin – head of 2nd section of Directorate of Investigations of Organised Crime and Corruption of the Russian Interior Ministry’s Investigative Department who sanctioned posthumous persecution of Sergei Magnitsky
  8. A. Ryabtsev – head of the Russian Interior Ministry’s Main Department of Economic Security and Combating Corruption(Department “K”), involved in the posthumous persecution of Sergei Magnitsky and exoneration of those involved in Magnitsky’s death
  9. D. Mityaev – official of the Russian Interior Ministry’s MainDepartment of Economic Security and Combating Corruption(Department “K”), involved in the posthumous persecution of Sergei Magnitsky and exoneration of those involved in Magnitsky’s death
  10. A. Krakovsky – deputy head of the Russian Interior Ministry’s Investigative Department responsible for the posthumous persecution of Sergei Magnitsky seven years after his death in custody
  11. S. Shneiderman – deputy head of the Russian Interior Ministry’s Investigative Department responsible for the posthumous persecution of Sergei Magnitsky seven years after his death in custody
  12. S. Murashev – deputy head of second section of the Directorate of the Russian Interior Ministry’s Investigative Department responsible for the posthumous persecution of Sergei Magnitsky seven years after his death in custody
  13. V. Yudin – head of the Russian General Prosecutor’s Office Directorate of Oversight over Investigations of Especially Important Cases, responsible for the posthumous persecution of Sergei Magnitsky
  14. V. Ignashin – deputy head of the Russian General Prosecutor’s Office Directorate of Oversight over Investigations of Especially Important Cases, responsible for the posthumous persecution of Sergei Magnitsky
  15. S. Bochkarev – prosecutor of the Russian General Prosecutor’s Office Directorate of Oversight over Investigations of Especially Important Cases, responsible for the posthumous persecution of Sergei Magnitsky
  16. A. Kulikov – prosecutor of the second section of the Russian General Prosecutor’s Office Directorate of Oversight over Investigations of Especially Important Cases, responsible for the posthumous persecution of Sergei Magnitsky
  17. D. Stroitelev – head of section of the FSB’s Directorate K (Financial Counterintelligence) involved in the posthumous persecution of Sergei Magnitsky and refusal of complaint from Magnitsky’s mother
  18. V. Komarov – officer of the FSB’s Directorate K (Financial Counterintelligence) involved in the posthumous persecution of Sergei Magnitsky
  19. A. Pogrebnyak – officer of the FSB’s Directorate K (Financial Counterintelligence) involved in the posthumous persecution of Sergei Magnitsky
  20. E. Golubev – investigator of the Russian Investigations Committee who exonerated tax officials from liability for the US$230 million theft and posthumously persecuted Sergei Magnitsky in spite of complaints from Magnitsky’s mother
  21. V. Alyshev – deputy head of the Main Investigative Directorate of the Russian Investigations Committee who exonerated from liability Interior Ministry officials who persecuted Sergei Magnitsky
  22. A. Iskantsev – acting head of the Main Investigative Directorate of the Russian Investigations Committee who exonerated from liability Interior Ministry officials who persecuted Sergei Magnitsky
  23. S. Olkhovnikov – deputy head of the second investigative section of the first investigative department for Central District of the Main Investigative Directorate of the Russian Investigations Committee overseeing the posthumous persecution of Sergei Magnitsky and the exoneration of officials implicated by Magnitsky in the US$230 million theft
  24. S. Kiryukhin – head of the second investigative section of the first investigative department of the Main Investigative Directorate of the Russian Investigations Committee overseeing the posthumous persecution of Sergei Magnitsky and the exoneration of officials implicated by Magnitsky in the US$230 million theft
  25. L. Kolobkova – deputy head of the first investigative department of the Main Investigative Directorate of the Russian Investigations Committee overseeing the posthumous persecution of Sergei Magnitsky and the exoneration of officials implicated by Magnitsky in the US$230 million theft
  26. A. Prokopets – acting head of the first investigative department of the Main Investigative Directorate of the Russian Investigations Committee overseeing the posthumous persecution of Sergei Magnitsky and the exoneration of officials implicated by Magnitsky in the US$230 million theft
  27. R. Erdniev – deputy head of the Directorate of Procedural Oversight over Investigations of Especially Important Cases in Federal Districts of the Russian Investigations Committee overseeing the posthumous persecution of Sergei Magnitsky and the exoneration of officials implicated by Magnitsky in the US$230 million theft
  28. Y. Tyutyunnik – acting head of the Main Investigative Directorate of the Investigations Committee overseeing the posthumous persecution of Sergei Magnitsky and the exoneration of officials implicated by Magnitsky in the US$230 million theft.

 

For further information please contact:

 

Global Justice for Sergei Magnitsky

+44 207 440 1777

info@lawandorderinrussia.org

www.lawandorderinrussia.org

www.billbrowder.com

twitter.com/Billbrowder

 

Extract from Mrs Magnitskaya’s Complaint against her son’s posthumous persecution

Below is an extract from the complaint filed with the Russian Interior Ministry by Mrs Magnitskaya’s lawyer against her son’s posthumous persecution:

“The investigation of this criminal case affects the constitutional rights of Mrs Magnitskaya and her deceased son.

Since the end of 2007 and in 2008 Sergei Magnitsky took active part in exposing the criminal group responsible for the theft of 5.4 billion roubles [US$230 million] from the state budget under the disguise of a tax refund.

Today, the investigation has numerous proofs that the theft had been committed by the criminal group which comprised heads of Moscow Tax Inspectorates No 25 and 28 E.Khimina and O.Stepanova and their subordinates; owner and employees of Universal Savings Bank; previously convicted Markelov, Kurochkin and Khlebnikov;  officials from the Moscow Interior Ministry’s Tax Crime Department  who assisted them, and others.

Furthermore, it is currently known that the same criminal group perpetrated a number of similar crimes, and the amount of funds stolen from the budget is about US$800 million. The theft of 5.4 billion roubles was not the first and not the last in the list of their crimes. Having unlimited financial resources at their disposal and having secured protection at the high administrative level, they have organised persecution against those who disrupted and exposed their criminal activity.

  1. Magnitsky was placed into custody on 24 November 2008 soon after he gave testimony implicating members of this criminal group. In a little less than a year, on 16 November 2009, he was found dead in the cell of the collection unit of Matrosskaya Tishina detention center. The location and nature of injuries on his body indisputably testify to the violent causes of the death of S.Magnitsky.

After S. Magnitsky was physically eliminated, investigator O. Urzhumtsev created a knowingly false version of the crime, as purportedly committed by S. Magnitsky himself, which was aimed to compromise the deceased and was monstrous in its cynicism and injustice.

The decree to commence a criminal case, investigator O.Urzhumtsev included data about alleged complicity of S. Magnitsky in the 5.4 billion roubles theft, which in fact S.Magnitsky had uncovered.”

The complaint from Mrs Magnitskaya’s lawyer further says that the conclusion on complicity of S. Magnitsky in the wrong-doing is a knowing lie and slander, contrary to the article 8 of the Russian Criminal Procedure Code which stipulates that no one can be recognised as guilty in committing the offence in the absence of a court judgment.



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