// Press Releases (in English)

Interpol Definitively Rejects Russia’s Request to Issue an International Arrest Warrant for Bill Browder

January 26, 2015

Inter­pol Defin­i­tively Rejects Russia’s Request to Issue an Inter­na­tional Arrest War­rant for Bill Browder

 

26 Jan­u­ary 2015 — Inter­pol, the inter­na­tional police orga­ni­za­tion, has defin­i­tively rejected Russia’s attempt to add Bill Brow­der, CEO of Her­mitage Cap­i­tal Man­age­ment, to its Red Notice inter­na­tional arrest war­rant sys­tem. This is Russia’s third unsuc­cess­ful attempt to issue an Inter­pol Red Notice for Brow­der. A Red Notice would have meant that Brow­der would be arrested at any inter­na­tional bor­der and poten­tially extra­dited back to Rus­sia. Over the last eight weeks, Interpol’s Com­mis­sion for the Con­trol of Files has reviewed Russia’s appli­ca­tion and con­cluded that the Russ­ian war­rant was ille­git­i­mate because it was “pre­dom­i­nantly political.”

 

This attempt by the Russ­ian gov­ern­ment fol­lows a long series of acts of retal­i­a­tion against Brow­der for his role in the suc­cess­ful pas­sage of the US Mag­nit­sky Act, which imposes visa sanc­tions and asset freezes on Russ­ian offi­cials who killed Sergei Mag­nit­sky, were involved in the $230 mil­lion theft he had uncov­ered, or per­pe­trated other human rights abuses.
Pre­vi­ously, Inter­pol refused two sim­i­lar requests from Rus­sia for Brow­der. In the sum­mer of 2014, Inter­pol said Russia’s requests to arrest Brow­der were invalid because they vio­lated Interpol’s Con­sti­tu­tion which pro­hibits the orga­ni­za­tion to be used for polit­i­cal persecution.

 

Instead of com­ply­ing with the pre­vi­ous two Interpol’s rul­ings, the Russ­ian author­i­ties began an inten­sive high-level lob­by­ing cam­paign to influ­ence Inter­pol to reverse their deci­sion. In Jan­u­ary 2014, the Russ­ian Gen­eral Prosecutor’s Office dis­patched offi­cials to Lyon, France, where Inter­pol is head­quar­tered, who per­suaded Inter­pol to re-open the Brow­der case. To help con­vince Inter­pol, Russ­ian Pres­i­dent Putin invited Gen­eral Sec­re­tary of Inter­pol Ron Noble to his pri­vate res­i­dence near Moscow at the end of Octo­ber 2014. Russ­ian author­i­ties also lob­bied Inter­pol mem­ber states to elect their rep­re­sen­ta­tive to Interpol’s gov­ern­ing body, the Exec­u­tive Committee.

 

To make their lat­est appli­ca­tion to Inter­pol for Brow­der, the Russ­ian author­i­ties used the posthu­mous trial against Browder’s mur­dered Russ­ian lawyer Sergei Mag­nit­sky. This trial was con­demned around the world as a gross abuse of justice.

 

“This lat­est episode with Inter­pol is an impor­tant exam­ple of how Putin applies Russia’s sov­er­eign power to abuse its mem­ber­ship in inter­na­tional orga­ni­za­tions. While the Inter­pol deci­sion was the cor­rect and right one, there are many other vic­tims of the Russ­ian regime in less high-profile cases who are being unjustly arrested in for­eign coun­tries as they flee polit­i­cal per­se­cu­tion in Rus­sia. It’s time that Russia’s fail­ing judi­cial sys­tem is taken into account by inter­na­tional orga­ni­za­tions for their con­stant abuse for polit­i­cal or cor­rupt motives,” said Bill Browder.

 

Next week, on Feb­ru­ary 3rd 2015, Bill Brow­der will be respond­ing with his own “Red Notice” on Putin’s Russia.

 

Browder’s book enti­tled, “Red Notice: A true story of High Finance, Mur­der, and One Man’s Fight for Jus­tice” (UK edi­tion: “Red Notice, How I Became Putin’s Num­ber One Enemy”) will be launched in the US and in the UK. Browder’s “Red Notice” will show that Putin is more akin to a crime boss than a legit­i­mate world leader.

 

To learn more visit the Red Notice book web­site: http://billbrowder.com

 

For more infor­ma­tion, please contact:

 

Mag­nit­sky Jus­tice Campaign

 

+44 2074401777

e-mail: info@lawandorderinrussia.org

web­site: www.lawandorderinrussia.org

Face­book: http://on.fb.me/hvIuVI

Twit­ter: @KatieFisher__

 

 



Russian Investigative Committee Refuses Application from Magnitsky’s Mother to Bring to Account Those Responsible for Use of Rubber Batons on her Son in Detention

January 16, 2015

The Russ­ian Inves­tiga­tive Com­mit­tee has refused the appli­ca­tion from Sergei Magnitsky’s mother to bring to account those respon­si­ble for the use of rub­ber batons on her son before his death in detention.

Mr Veseliev, Deputy head of sec­tion of the Main Inves­tiga­tive Depart­ment of the Russ­ian Inves­tiga­tive Com­mit­tee, stated in refus­ing the appli­ca­tion that the deci­sion to ter­mi­nate the inves­ti­ga­tion was based on “the col­lec­tion of gath­ered evi­dence” and “was checked by the head of the inves­tiga­tive body and pros­e­cu­tor, no grounds to change the deci­sion were found.” The decree does not pro­vide any con­crete ground in rela­tion to the deci­sion not to inves­ti­gate the use of rub­ber batons.
The appli­ca­tion from Magnitsky’s mother stated that the use of rub­ber batons was con­firmed by the post-mortem med­ical exam­i­na­tion, yet the inves­ti­ga­tion closed the crim­i­nal case into Magnitsky’s death with­out bring­ing to account those respon­si­ble. Her appli­ca­tion said:

request to con­duct full probe by inves­tiga­tive means into the use of spe­cial means – metal­lic hand­cuffs and rub­ber batons — on 16 Novem­ber 2009 at the time when he [Mag­nit­sky] was deliv­ered in grave con­di­tion to Matrosskaya Tishina deten­tion cen­ter for the pur­pose of pro­vid­ing him with emer­gency med­ical care.”

Sergei Mag­nit­sky died on 16 Novem­ber 2009. Despite the con­clu­sions from four inde­pen­dent expert exam­i­na­tions that he was tor­tured in deten­tion, the Russ­ian Inves­tiga­tive Com­mit­tee has refused to investigate.

Russ­ian Inves­ti­ga­to­roftheIn­ves­tiga­tiveCom­mit­tee­An­dreiStrizhov, who closed the Mag­nit­sky death case investigation,andDeputyGeneralProsecutorofRussiaVictorGrin, the over­see­ing­pros­e­cu­tor, were both­sanc­tionedby the US Gov­ern­ment attheend­ofDe­cem­ber 2014 fortheir­rolein con­ceal­ing the legal lia­bil­ity of per­sons respon­si­ble for Magnitsky’s ill-treatment and death, in accor­dance with the Sergei Mag­nit­sky Rule of Law Account­abil­ity Act of 2012



US Sanctions Four New Russian Officials on Magnitsky List Including Russian Deputy General Prosecutor Victor Grin

December 30, 2014

Today the US Gov­ern­ment released four new names of Russ­ian gov­ern­ment offi­cials added to the U.S. Mag­nit­sky sanc­tions list, includ­ing Russia’s Deputy Gen­eral Pros­e­cu­tor Vic­tor Grin.

Mr Grin is the highest-ranking mem­ber of the Putin regime to be sanc­tioned to date under the Sergei Mag­nit­sky Rule of Law Account­abil­ity Act.

“Vic­tor Grin is surely the most odi­ous char­ac­ter of all Russ­ian offi­cials involved in the Mag­nit­sky case, and it is cru­cial that he is being pub­licly sanc­tioned,” said a Mag­nit­sky Jus­tice Сam­paign representative.

The announce­ment came shortly after the sec­ond of anniver­sary of the pas­sage of the Mag­nit­sky Act and fol­low­ing the fifth anniver­sary of Sergei Magnitsky’s mur­der in Russ­ian police custody.

Two of the four sanc­tioned Russ­ian offi­cials played a spe­cific role in the Mag­nit­sky case, and the other two are offi­cials with respon­si­bil­ity in the Chech­nya region.

The most high pro­file new addi­tion to the sanc­tions list is Vic­tor Grin, Russia’s Deputy Gen­eral Pros­e­cu­tor, who was respon­si­ble for the cover-up of the tor­ture and killing of Sergei Mag­nit­sky in police cus­tody, the cover-up of the theft of $230 mil­lion from the state that Mag­nit­sky had exposed. He was also respon­si­ble for the posthu­mous pros­e­cu­tion of Sergei Mag­nit­sky three years after his death.

Major Andrei Strizhov, an inves­ti­ga­tor of the Russ­ian Inves­tiga­tive Com­mit­tee, was also added to the Mag­nit­sky list. Last year, Strizhov was respon­si­ble for clos­ing the inves­ti­ga­tion into Sergei Magnitsky’s death with a find­ing of “no signs of a crime.” This find­ing came in spite of two inde­pen­dent reports from Rus­sia and two from abroad that found that Mag­nit­sky was sub­jected to tor­ture, beaten with rub­ber batons and other abuses.

The U.S. Mag­nit­sky sanc­tions list now con­tains 34 names, includ­ing 28 who played a role in the Mag­nit­sky case.

It is impor­tant we don’t  for­get that the Mag­nit­sky fam­ily has sub­mit­ted evi­dence of more than 280 indi­vid­u­als who should be sub­jected to sanc­tions under the Mag­nit­sky Act. There is a lot more work to be done for the US Gov­ern­ment to ful­fill its oblig­a­tions under the Mag­nit­sky Act,” said a Mag­nit­sky Jus­tice Сam­paign representative.

 The pub­li­ca­tion of the list has coin­cided with the pub­li­ca­tion of the annual report by the U.S. State Depart­ment on the imple­men­ta­tion of the Mag­nit­sky law, in which the State Depart­ment has explained the cri­te­ria involved:

“The cri­te­ria include per­sons involved in the crim­i­nal con­spir­acy uncov­ered by Sergei Mag­nit­sky, a Russ­ian lawyer who died of med­ical neglect on Novem­ber 16, 2009, after a year in pre-trial deten­tion in a Moscow prison, after he uncov­ered a large tax fraud scheme per­pe­trated by Russ­ian officials.”

The Mag­nit­sky Law was passed in Decem­ber 2012. The first Mag­nit­sky sanc­tions list was pub­lished by the U.S. Gov­ern­ment in April 2013. The addi­tions of names to the Mag­nit­sky Sanc­tions List gen­er­ally hap­pens in con­junc­tion with the pub­li­ca­tion of the U.S. State Depart­ment report on the imple­men­ta­tion of the Mag­nit­sky Law or in reac­tion to a “con­gres­sional trig­ger” in which chair­man and rank­ing mem­bers of cer­tain con­gres­sional com­mit­tees can request for names to be added to the list.

Back­ground Infor­ma­tion on Deputy Gen­eral Pros­e­cu­tor Vic­tor Grin:

 Vic­tor Grin serves as Russia’s Deputy Gen­eral Pros­e­cu­tor. He over­saw a probe into the com­plaint filed by the Her­mitage Fund’s lawyers report­ing abuse of office by Russ­ian Inte­rior Min­istry offi­cials three weeks before the $230 mil­lion was stolen which led to Magnitsky’s death. In spite of receiv­ing the report, Grin failed to con­duct any inves­ti­ga­tion and three weeks later, a group of Russ­ian offi­cials and crim­i­nals stole $230 mil­lion from the Russ­ian treasury.

On 10 April 2009, Grin signed an indict­ment, which exon­er­ated all Russ­ian Inte­rior Min­istry and tax offi­cials that Sergei Mag­nit­sky had exposed in the $230 mil­lion theft.

On 6 Novem­ber 2009, ten days before Sergei Magnitsky’s death in cus­tody, pros­e­cu­tor Grin was assigned to over­see the probe into the com­plaint about Magnitsky’s ill-treatment and denial of med­ical care in cus­tody filed by Magnitsky’s col­league Jami­son Fire­stone. Grin failed to con­duct any such probe, and ten days later Sergei Mag­nit­sky was mur­dered in custody.

After Sergei Magnitsky’s death, Grin was put in charge of super­vis­ing the inves­ti­ga­tion into Sergei Magnitsky’s death. In this capac­ity, he issued a report find­ing no vio­la­tions in the actions of Russ­ian Inte­rior Min­istry offi­cials who arrested and pros­e­cuted Mag­nit­sky, which was used to jus­tify the clo­sure of the death case investigation.

Two and half years after Magnitsky’s death, in retal­i­a­tion to calls from the Magnitsky’s fam­ily for jus­tice, Grin per­son­ally ini­ti­ated two posthu­mous cases against Sergei Mag­nit­sky in Rus­sia, includ­ing one which ended with the first-ever posthu­mous trial in Russ­ian his­tory last July, and another one which is still ongoing.

For fur­ther mate­ri­als on Russ­ian Deputy Gen­eral Pros­e­cu­tor Vic­tor Grin go to “Russ­ian Untouch­ables. Jus­tice for Sergei Mag­nit­sky” web­site and visit page “Mag­nit­sky Case Cover up Revealed in Per­sons and Doc­u­ments”.

Back­ground Infor­ma­tion on Inves­ti­ga­tor Andrei Strizhov:

The sec­ond Russ­ian offi­cial added to the Mag­nit­sky Sanc­tions List today is Major Andrei Strizhov. Strizhov is an inves­ti­ga­tor work­ing in Russ­ian Inves­tiga­tive Com­mit­tee who was respon­si­ble for clos­ing the inves­ti­ga­tion into Magnitsky’s death. In his report, he found “no crime.” He also has refused requests from the Mag­nit­sky fam­ily to allow them to con­duct inde­pen­dent med­ical exam­i­na­tion of Magnitsky’s tis­sue archive or for their lawyer to ques­tion FSB and Inte­rior Min­istry offi­cials respon­si­ble for his detention.



Magnitsky’s Mother Goes to the Russian Supreme Court to Overturn the Second Posthumous Case Against Her Murdered Son

November 21, 2014

Sergei Magnitsky’s mother has filed a com­plaint with the judi­cial col­legium of the Supreme Court of Rus­sia in rela­tion to the sec­ond posthu­mous pro­ceed­ing orga­nized against her son by the Russ­ian Inte­rior Ministry.

Under this sec­ond posthu­mous case, Sergei Mag­nit­sky has been named after his death as a “co-conspirator” in the $230 mil­lion tax refund fraud that he had in fact uncov­ered and exposed.

…Inves­ti­ga­tor Urzhumt­sev in vio­la­tion of the prin­ci­ple of pre­sump­tion of inno­cence, in vio­la­tion of the con­sti­tu­tional right for defence, in the absence of a court order, in the absence of pre­lim­i­nary inves­ti­ga­tion, had stated in his decree [from Decem­ber 2010] that Sergei Mag­nit­sky who died a year before [in Novem­ber 2009] in Matrosskaya Tishina deten­tion cen­ter, com­mit­ted a seri­ous crime… the theft of 5.4 bil­lion rubles [$230 mil­lion]…The con­clu­sion itself must be qual­i­fied as slan­der in rela­tion to know­ingly inno­cent per­son,” says the complaint.

 He [Inves­ti­ga­tor Urzhumt­sev] knew very well, that Mag­nit­sky not only was not com­plicit in the theft of 5.4 bil­lion rubles, but that Mag­nit­sky was the first per­son who had uncov­ered the crime com­mit­ted against the three com­pa­nies of his client, and who had exposed the crim­i­nal activ­ity of per­haps one of the largest crim­i­nal groups which spe­cial­izes in unlaw­ful tax refunds,” says the complaint.

Inte­rior Min­istry Inves­ti­ga­tor Oleg Urzhumt­sev was included on both the inves­tiga­tive team on the case against Sergei Mag­nit­sky under which Mag­nit­sky was arrested and ill-treated in cus­tody; and on the case to inves­ti­gate the $230 mil­lion theft that Mag­nit­sky had uncov­ered. The sec­ond inves­ti­ga­tion led by Inves­ti­ga­tor Urzhumt­sev fin­ished by exon­er­at­ing all Russ­ian Inte­rior Min­istry and tax offi­cials from lia­bil­ity for the $230 mil­lion theft, and nam­ing Sergei Mag­nit­sky as co-conspirator posthu­mously and in secret from his rel­a­tives. Urzhumt­sev also was respon­si­ble for assign­ing the blame for the crime to a “job­less” per­son named Vyach­eslav Khleb­nikov in a fast-track pro­ceed­ing which ended with a lenient sen­tence of five years for the $230 mil­lion theft. As part of that pro­ceed­ing con­ducted after Magnitsky’s death, Khleb­nikov gave a false tes­ti­mony against Mag­nit­sky from detention.

As mem­ber of the inves­tiga­tive group [on the case Sergei Mag­nit­sky was detained], Urzhumt­sev knew that Mag­nit­sky was arrested soon after his tes­ti­mony impli­cat­ing offi­cials in the theft of 5.4 bil­lion rubles, and that some of those offi­cials were included on the same inves­tiga­tive team,-  points out the com­plaint. — Mag­nit­sky stated that his crim­i­nal pros­e­cu­tion was a mea­sure of repres­sion aimed to pun­ish him for the assis­tance he pro­vided to his client dur­ing the iden­ti­fi­ca­tion of cir­cum­stances of the theft of his client’s com­pa­nies — Rilend, Makhaon, and Par­fe­nion.”

The com­plaint says that Inves­ti­ga­tor Urzhumt­sev has con­cealed the real per­pe­tra­tors by blam­ing the $230 mil­lion theft on Sergei Mag­nit­sky, and two other deceased indi­vid­u­als (Mr Gasanov and Mr Korobeinikov), nei­ther of whom were alive and could be ques­tioned at the time of the investigation.

“The evi­dence in the case file objec­tively demon­strates that Inves­ti­ga­tor Urzhumt­sev acted in the inter­ests of per­sons who per­pe­trated the theft of 5.4 bil­lion rubles [$230 mil­lion], and who using his own ter­mi­nol­ogy, “found” two deceased indi­vid­u­als in order to put on them the lia­bil­ity for the theft of bud­get funds, and in order to pro­vide the ser­vice of con­ceal­ment for the real per­pe­tra­tors of the crime,” says the complaint.

It was since uncov­ered that Mr Gasanov died on 1 Octo­ber 2007, two months before the $230 mil­lion was com­mit­ted. Mr Korobeinikov died in Sep­tem­ber 2008, “falling of a bal­cony” of a build­ing under con­struc­tion, accord­ing to the Russ­ian investigation.

Ms Mag­nit­skaya asks the Russ­ian Supreme Court to exam­ine the law­ful­ness of inves­ti­ga­tor Urzhumtsev’s actions and annul pre­vi­ous deci­sions by lower-level Russ­ian courts who rejected her complaints.

The court must check the law­ful­ness and the jus­ti­fi­ca­tion for the Investigator’s decree… The pre­vi­ous rejec­tion vio­lates the con­sti­tu­tional prin­ci­ple of the pre­sump­tion of inno­cence because deceased Mag­nit­sky was named by Inves­ti­ga­tor Urzhumt­sev as a co-conspirator in a crime,” says the complaint.

The court had an oppor­tu­nity to check the argu­ments using the crim­i­nal case files, and by invit­ing inves­ti­ga­tor Urzhumt­sev to give tes­ti­mony, but it failed to do so…As a result, the con­clu­sion of the court [of lower instance] is not sup­ported by the fac­tual cir­cum­stances, which is … the ground to can­cel the court deci­sion,” says the com­plaint in conclusion.

Pre­vi­ous com­plaints from Ms Mag­nit­skaya addressed to lower instance courts have been rejected by Moscow dis­trict judge Tatiana Neverova, and Moscow city court judges Andrei Titov and Lyubov Ishmuratova.

In the United States, 26 Russ­ian offi­cials and pri­vate indi­vid­u­als involved in Sergei Magnitsky’s deten­tion and ill-treatment in cus­tody and in the crim­i­nal con­spir­acy Mag­nitsy had uncov­ered have been sanc­tioned under the US Mag­nit­sky Act. The list includes sev­eral col­leagues of Inves­ti­ga­tor Urzhumt­sev on the Russ­ian Inte­rior Ministry’s inves­tiga­tive team in the Mag­nit­sky case.



Sergei Magnitsky’s Mother Slams the Russian Authorities Refusal to Investigate the Murder of Her Son on the 5th Anniversary of His Death

November 19, 2014

Sergei Magnitsky’s mother has spo­ken of the suf­fer­ing she has been sub­jected to in her calls to seek jus­tice for her mur­dered son in Russia.

In an exten­sive inter­view to the Open Rus­sia web­site, Natalia Mag­nit­skaya spoke of her grief of the way that Russ­ian offi­cials have dealt with her complaints.

All our appli­ca­tions and com­plaints to all gov­ern­ment bod­ies are being rejected. I can’t read these rejec­tions any more. It is clear that they are sim­ply mock­ing us. For exam­ple, they sent us mate­ri­als to read, but the copies are so poor it was impos­si­ble to read them. My lawyer filed com­plaint to the higher-level body, but his com­plaint was rejected. They said essen­tially that all is ok, there is no need for you to read them.”

Natalia Mag­nit­skaya also depicted her anguish at the lies offi­cially issued by the Russ­ian Gen­eral Prosecutor’s Office, which jus­ti­fied the posthu­mous trial of her son by claim­ing that the fam­ily had asked for it:

Recently, one of the doc­u­ments from the Gen­eral Prosecutor’s Office said that they had ini­ti­ated the case against Mag­nit­sky on the request from his mother. But we had stated in writ­ing on so many occa­sions that we do not want the posthu­mous pros­e­cu­tion. Howcouldthisbe?”

Natalia Mag­nit­skaya described the strug­gle to seek jus­tice for her son in Rus­sia as “fac­ing a wall,” but said she con­tin­ues to chal­lenge the rejec­tions nev­er­the­less and seek jus­tice and is not pre­pared to give up:

“So far every­thing has been with­out effect. In spite of this we try to chal­lenge every­thing, but it gives you the feel­ing that you are fac­ing a wall…But we should not stop…It is impos­si­ble to give in.”

In another report on the Open Rus­sia web­site in mem­ory of Sergei Mag­nit­sky, Russ­ian jour­nal­ist and human rights activist Zoya Sve­tova recalled how she and other mem­bers of the Moscow Pub­lic Over­sight Com­mis­sion inves­ti­gated the cir­cum­stances of his mur­der in detention.

We wrote report and sent it on 31 Decem­ber 2009 to the Pres­i­dent of Rus­sia, the Gen­eral Prosecutor’s Office and the Min­istry of Jus­tice. In our report, we wrote that we do not trust the tes­ti­mony of deten­tion offi­cials and are con­vinced that the right to life of Mag­nit­sky was vio­lated. In other words, the lawyer was murdered.” 

Also on the Open Rus­sia web­site, Russ­ian play­wright Elena Grem­ina, author of the play, “One Hour Eigh­teen Min­utes,” which depicts the last hours of Sergei Magnitsky’s life, spoke of how work­ing with the Mag­nit­sky story changed her and those who worked on the play with her:

“It was decided, as usu­ally hap­pens with new ideas, to gather doc­u­ments and mate­ri­als about Sergei Mag­nit­sky to see if his story had poten­tial for a play. I did not know then that the gath­er­ing of mate­ri­als for this prospec­tive play would change us, would intro­duce us to new ideas and new peo­ple, that it would change a lot in me.”

Mate­ri­als to Com­mem­o­rate the 5th Anniver­sary of Sergei Magnitsky’s Killing in Cus­tody can be found on Open Rus­sia web­site.



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