// Press Releases (in English)

Ambassadors from Council of Europe States Reject Parliamentarians’ Call to Improve Judicial Cooperation in Case Exposed by Murdered Lawyer Sergei Magnitsky

November 12, 2014

Ambas­sadors from Coun­cil of Europe States Reject Par­lia­men­tar­i­ans’ Call to Improve Judi­cial Coop­er­a­tion in Case Exposed by Mur­dered Lawyer Sergei Magnitsky

10 Novem­ber 2014 – For­eign min­istry offi­cials from the Coun­cil of Europe have issued a rejec­tion of demands by par­lia­men­tar­i­ans from 47-member states to improve inter­na­tional judi­cial coop­er­a­tion in the money laun­der­ing case exposed by mur­dered anti-corruption lawyer Sergei Magnitsky.

Chaired by Mr E. Eyyubov, Deputy For­eign Affairs Min­is­ter of Azer­bai­jan, the Strasbourg-based ambas­sadors com­pris­ing the Coun­cil of Europe’s Com­mit­tee of Min­is­ters, the inter­na­tional organisation’s decision-making body, refused to pro­pose any con­crete mea­sures that par­lia­men­tar­i­ans have asked for in their Rec­om­men­da­tion enti­tled “Refus­ing Impunity for the Killers of Sergei Mag­nit­sky” which was adopted by over­whelm­ing major­ity in Jan­u­ary this year.

The par­lia­men­tar­i­ans of the Coun­cil of Europe’s Par­lia­men­tary Assem­bly asked in their Jan­u­ary 2014 rec­om­men­da­tion the Com­mit­tee of For­eign Affairs Min­is­ters to:
“exam­ine ways and means of improv­ing inter­na­tional co-operation in inves­ti­gat­ing the “money trail” of the funds orig­i­nat­ing in the fraud­u­lent tax reim­burse­ments denounced by Mr Mag­nit­sky; and, in par­tic­u­lar, of ensur­ing that the Russ­ian Fed­er­a­tion fully par­tic­i­pates in these efforts.” (http://assembly.coe.int/nw/xml/XRef/Xref-XML2HTML-EN.asp?fileid=20410&lang=en)

In the response to par­lia­men­tar­i­ans, the Com­mit­tee of Min­is­ters ignored the rec­om­men­da­tions com­pletely and changed the sub­ject cit­ing sev­eral gen­eral reports on Rus­sia issued by MONEYVAL, a Coun­cil of Europe’s body in the area of anti-money laun­der­ing. None of the reports exam­ine the $230 mil­lion money laun­der­ing case exposed by Sergei Mag­nit­sky in any way.

Although MONEYVAL does not address indi­vid­ual cases, it aims to pro­vide its mem­bers with the capac­ity to fight money-laundering within their bor­ders and to co-operate in order to pre­vent trans­bor­der money-laundering. At the inter­na­tional level, MONEYVAL works closely together with the Finan­cial Action Task Force on Money Laun­der­ing (FATF). The Russ­ian Fed­er­a­tion is a mem­ber of both these bod­ies,” said the response from the Com­mit­tee of Min­is­ters to par­lia­men­tar­i­ans pub­lished on the offi­cial Coun­cil of Europe web­site (http://assembly.coe.int/nw/xml/XRef/Xref-XML2HTML-en.asp?fileid=21312&lang=en).

The diplo­matic answer to Coun­cil of Europe’s par­lia­men­tar­i­ans from the Com­mit­tee of Min­is­ters adopted at the Committee’s ses­sion on 22 and 24 Octo­ber in Stras­bourg fur­ther said:

The Com­mit­tee [of Min­is­ters] reit­er­ates its call for an effec­tive inves­ti­ga­tion and the bring­ing to jus­tice of those responsible.”

Jus­tice for Sergei Mag­nit­sky cam­paign rep­re­sen­ta­tive said:

This strange bureau­cratic response is defy­ing the efforts of par­lia­men­tar­i­ans from 47 coun­tries in Europe to achieve some mea­sure of jus­tice in the Mag­nit­sky case. It is also an aban­don­ment of Sergei Mag­nit­sky who paid with his life try­ing to stop cor­rupt Russ­ian offi­cials from steal­ing mil­lions from his coun­try. The appointed diplo­mats in Europe should heed the call from the elected par­lia­men­tar­i­ans who have shown the resolve of the peo­ple to see that jus­tice is done.”

The par­lia­men­tar­i­ans’ rec­om­men­da­tion was based on the inde­pen­dent inves­ti­ga­tion into the Mag­nit­sky case con­ducted by Coun­cil of Europe’s Rap­por­teur, Swiss MP Andreas Gross, who con­cluded that there was a need to improve inter­na­tional coop­er­a­tion in this case because of the high-level cover up in this case in Russia.

Rap­por­teur Gross stated:
“My ini­tial con­clu­sion, namely that we are in the pres­ence of a mas­sive cover-up involv­ing senior offi­cials of the com­pe­tent min­istries, the Pros­e­cu­tor General’s Office, the Inves­tiga­tive Com­mit­tee and even cer­tain courts finds itself fur­ther con­sol­i­dated.” (Report “Refus­ing the Impunity for the Killers of Sergei Mag­nit­sky” http://www.assembly.coe.int/nw/xml/XRef/X2H-Xref-ViewPDF.asp?FileID=20084&lang=en).

Rap­por­teur Gross pointed out that the money laun­der­ing exposed by Sergei Mag­nit­sky has been traced to a large num­ber of Euro­pean states which neces­si­tated inter­na­tional judi­cial coop­er­a­tion in this case:

The laun­der­ing of the funds that can be traced back to the fraud­u­lent US$230 mil­lion tax refund denounced by Mr Mag­nit­sky has involved a large num­ber of Euro­pean States… Given the com­plex­ity of the crim­i­nal inves­ti­ga­tions required and the obvi­ous need for inter­na­tional co-operation, the Assem­bly should also seize the Com­mit­tee of Min­is­ters in order to ensure that this impor­tant affair is included on the agenda of inter­gov­ern­men­tal co-operation.” (Adden­dum to Report “Refus­ing the Impunity for the Killers of Sergei Mag­nit­sky”, http://www.assembly.coe.int/nw/xml/XRef/X2H-Xref-ViewPDF.asp?FileID=20345&lang=en)

Con­clu­sions expressed in the report “Refus­ing Impunity for the Killers of Sergei Mag­nit­sky” pre­pared by Rap­por­teur Gross were adopted by over­whelm­ing major­ity this Jan­u­ary by the 47-member state Par­lia­men­tary Assem­bly of the Coun­cil of Europe (Res­o­lu­tion “Refus­ing the Impunity for the Killers of Sergei Mag­nit­sky” http://assembly.coe.int/nw/xml/XRef/Xref-XML2HTML-en.asp?fileid=20409&lang=en).

For fur­ther infor­ma­tion please contact:

Jus­tice for Sergei Mag­nit­sky cam­paign
Phone: +44 207 440 1777
Email: info@lawandorderinrussia.org
Web­site: http://lawandorderinrussia.org

Sergei Magnitsky Justice Campaigners Demand Transparent Investigation into the Suspicious Death in Moscow of Russian Actor and Civil Rights Activist Alexei Devotchenko

November 6, 2014

Sergei Mag­nit­sky Jus­tice Cam­paign­ers Demand Trans­par­ent Inves­ti­ga­tion into the Sus­pi­cious Death in Moscow of Russ­ian Actor and Civil Rights Activist Alexei Devotchenko

6 Novem­ber 2014 — Cam­paign­ers for Jus­tice for Sergei Mag­nit­sky demand a trans­par­ent inves­ti­ga­tion into yesterday’s sus­pi­cious death in Moscow of Russ­ian actor, civil activist, and a friend of the Mag­nit­sky cam­paign Alexei Devotchenko.

Alexei Devotchenko was one of the few free voices left in Rus­sia who had not been killed, arrested or forced into exile because of his way of thinking.

He was bravely speak­ing out against the polit­i­cal repres­sion, klep­toc­racy and human rights vio­la­tions endorsed by Pres­i­dent Putin’s regime. Three years ago, in an act of protest against cor­rup­tion and polit­i­cal cen­sor­ship, Alexei Devotchenko returned the state hon­ours which had been per­son­ally awarded to him by Pres­i­dent Putin in recog­ni­tion of his accom­plish­ments as an out­stand­ing actor. He explained it in an inter­view to Novy Region 2: “I am com­pletely fed up with this tzardom-statedom. With its lies, cover-ups, state-sanctioned rob­bery, bribery and other virtues…” (http://www.newsinfo.ru/news/2011 – 11-21/devotchenko/766105/). Shortly after­wards, he was attacked on a Moscow under­ground. Details of this inci­dent were reported on his face­book.
Last year, Alexei Devotchenko was a promi­nent fig­ure at the memo­r­ial cer­e­mony to mark the life and death of Sergei Mag­nit­sky, held at the Sakharov cen­tre. Alexei Devotchenko read poems by Russ­ian poet and Nobel Prize lau­re­ate Joseph Brod­sky who was expelled from the Soviet Union in 1972. After­wards, he spoke about the dif­fi­cult choices that every free-thinking Russ­ian has to make, and whether it’s safe for him and his fam­ily to stay in the coun­try given the polit­i­cal repres­sions and blood­shed that could come of it (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=68UZDPLwtDY].
Yes­ter­day, Alexei Devotchenko was found dead with signs of vio­lence in a pool of blood near his apart­ment in Moscow. Despite early indi­ca­tions of a sus­pi­cious death, this morn­ing a ‘source’ in the Russ­ian law enforce­ment stated that mur­der was excluded, that the actor was a “drunk,” that the bruises were caused by glass fur­ni­ture in his apart­ment, and that a heart attack is a pos­si­ble expla­na­tion for his death (http://www.rg.ru/2014/11/06/devotchenko-site.html; http://www.interfax.ru/culture/405635).

We mourn the death of a coura­geous Russ­ian patriot Alexei Devotchenko. We believe that the Russ­ian pub­lic deserves to know what really hap­pened. We are aware of the extent of cover up that is pos­si­ble. As we know from expe­ri­ence, it would not be the first time in Rus­sia that mur­der was cov­ered up by a “heart attack” and “drunk­en­ness.” We demand that the inves­ti­ga­tion of Alexei Devotchenko’s death is con­ducted openly and trans­par­ently,” said a Sergei Mag­nit­sky Jus­tice cam­paign representative.

For more infor­ma­tion, please contact:

Mag­nit­sky Jus­tice Cam­paign
+44 2074401777

US Judge Makes Surprising Decision to Allow Lawyer John Moscow to Continue Representing Russian Client After Switching Sides in the Forfeiture Case from Crime Uncovered by Sergei Magnitsky

October 24, 2014

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US Judge Makes Sur­pris­ing Deci­sion to Allow Lawyer John Moscow to Con­tinue Rep­re­sent­ing Russ­ian Client After Switch­ing Sides in the For­fei­ture Case from Crime Uncov­ered by Sergei Magnitsky

24 Octo­ber 2014 – Yes­ter­day in the South­ern Dis­trict court of New York, U.S. fed­eral judge Thomas Griesa denied Her­mitage Capital’s motion to dis­qual­ify New York lawyer John Moscow, law firms Baker Hostetler and Baker Botts for con­flict of inter­est and breach­ing their client’s confidences.

The New York case involves the first fed­eral for­fei­ture and money laun­der­ing claim brought by the U.S. Gov­ern­ment in rela­tion to pro­ceeds from the $230 mil­lion theft in Rus­sia exposed by the mur­dered Hermitage’s Russ­ian lawyer Sergei Mag­nit­sky and the pro­ceeds from which have been since traced to mul­ti­ple juris­dic­tions around the world.

The US Gov­ern­ment has stated in its sub­mis­sion to the court that Her­mitage is a “vic­tim” of the $230 mil­lion fraud scheme which was per­pe­trated by the Russ­ian orga­ni­za­tion involv­ing Russ­ian gov­ern­ment offi­cials at issue in the for­fei­ture claim.

In 2008, when Hermitage’s Russ­ian lawyers, includ­ing Sergei Mag­nit­sky, who had inves­ti­gated and reported the $230 mil­lion fraud, came under attack from cor­rupt Russ­ian police offi­cers involved in the crime, Her­mitage hired John Moscow, a for­mer New York pros­e­cu­tor respon­si­ble for inves­ti­gat­ing the Russ­ian mafia and a part­ner with the U.S. firm Baker Hostetler. Moscow was brought on as an anti-money laun­der­ing expert to help iden­tify and pros­e­cute per­pe­tra­tors of the $230 mil­lion fraud with the assis­tance of the US Depart­ment of Jus­tice and to trace through US banks pro­ceeds of the $230 mil­lion fraud, the dis­cov­ery of which lead to the false arrest and death of Sergei Magnitsky.

In his work, which lasted eight months, John Moscow put together a strat­egy of using U.S. courts for sub­poe­nas, fed­eral for­fei­ture orders and RICO in order to go after the $230 mil­lion fraud per­pe­tra­tors, and pre­sented the results of Hermitage’s inves­ti­ga­tion to the U.S. Attorney’s Office. Since then, Her­mitage con­tin­ued its inves­ti­ga­tion into those who ben­e­fited from Sergei Magnitsky’s killing in Russ­ian police cus­tody and the $230 mil­lion fraud he had uncov­ered in coop­er­a­tion with law enforce­ment author­i­ties around the world.

Last year, the U.S. Attorney’s Office filed the for­fei­ture claim in South­ern Dis­trict Court of New York in rela­tion to the pro­ceeds from $230 mil­lion fraud that the U.S. Gov­ern­ment has traced to a num­ber of multi-million dol­lar prop­er­ties in Man­hat­tan belong­ing to Pre­ve­zon, a Cyprus com­pany owned by Russ­ian national Denis Kat­syv, a son of a for­mer high-level Moscow regional gov­ern­ment official.

To Hermitage’s dis­may, John Moscow appeared in court to rep­re­sent Pre­ve­zon in the case against the U.S. Gov­ern­ment. He and other lawyers rep­re­sent­ing the Russ­ian owner of Pre­ve­zon then began a cam­paign to dis­credit Her­mitage as a wit­ness for the U.S. Government.

We feel pro­foundly betrayed by John Moscow and what he did and are dis­ap­pointed that the court did not rec­og­nize that yes­ter­day,” said a Her­mitage Cap­i­tal representative.

For fur­ther infor­ma­tion please contact:

Her­mitage Cap­i­tal
Phone: +44 207 440 1777
Email: info@lawandorderinrussia.org
Web­site: http://lawandorderinrussia.org
Face­book: http://on.fb.me/hvIuVI
Twit­ter: @KatieFisher__

French Prosecutor Makes Public Attempt to Whitewash Corrupt Russian Officials on the Magnitsky List in Ablyazov Extradition Case

October 23, 2014

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French Pros­e­cu­tor Makes Pub­lic Attempt to White­wash Cor­rupt Russ­ian Offi­cials on the Mag­nit­sky List in Ablya­zov Extra­di­tion Case

23 Octo­ber 2014 – French pub­lic pros­e­cu­tor Chris­t­ian Pon­sard pub­licly dis­missed the death of Russ­ian anti-corruption lawyer Sergei Mag­nit­sky in Russ­ian police cus­tody as irrel­e­vant to cases of extra­di­tion to Rus­sia. He sug­gested that there was no rea­son to refuse French legal assis­tance to Russ­ian offi­cials who were involved in denial of med­ical care and other vio­la­tions of human rights in Mag­nit­sky case.

Speak­ing in Lyon Court at an extra­di­tion hear­ing of Mukhtar Ablya­zov last Fri­day, Pros­e­cu­tor Pon­sard report­edly said that the fact that this case was ini­ti­ated and inves­ti­gated by Russ­ian offi­cials sanc­tioned by the US and placed on the Euro­pean Parliament’s list should have no bear­ing on the extra­di­tion of Ablyazov.

Accord­ing to peo­ple present to the hear­ing, the French pros­e­cu­tor pro­posed that it was fine to extra­dite peo­ple into the hands of US-sanctioned and EU Parliament-designated Russ­ian offi­cials respon­si­ble for Sergei Magnitsky’s false arrest, tor­ture and death,” said a Her­mitage Cap­i­tal representative.

The state­ment made by Pon­sard is in direct con­tra­dic­tion to the Euro­pean Parliament’s find­ings on the Mag­nit­sky case which said in the res­o­lu­tion adopted on 2 April 2014:

The arrest and sub­se­quent death in cus­tody of Sergei Mag­nit­sky rep­re­sent a well-documented and sig­nif­i­cant case of dis­re­spect for human rights and fun­da­men­tal free­doms in Rus­sia, …and serve as a reminder of the many doc­u­mented short­com­ings in respect for the rule of law in Russia.”

The Euro­pean Parliament’s res­o­lu­tion names 32 Russ­ian offi­cials and pri­vate indi­vid­u­als involved in the Mag­nit­sky case (http://www.europarl.europa.eu/news/en/news-room/content/20140331IPR41184/html/Magnitsky-list-MEPs-call-for-EU-sanctions-against-32-Russian-officials).

It is sim­ply impos­si­ble for France, as a mem­ber of EU, to ask for jus­tice in Sergei Mag­nit­sky case and then extra­dite some­body in the hands of exactly the same peo­ple who already bear respon­si­bil­ity for com­plete injus­tice against Sergei Mag­nit­sky,” said Her­mitage Cap­i­tal representative.

French pros­e­cu­tor Pon­sard was sup­ported in his attempt to white­wash the crimes against Mag­nit­sky by Denis Gru­nis, head of Russ­ian Gen­eral Prosecutor’s inter­na­tional coop­er­a­tion sec­tion, who par­tic­i­pated in the same extra­di­tion hearing.

Russ­ian Pros­e­cu­tor Denis Gru­nis said he believed it did not mat­ter that the per­son who approved a request for Mr Ablyazov’s extra­di­tion was Moscow judge Alexei Krivoruchko, the same judge who two months before Magnitsky’s death, on 14 Sep­tem­ber 2009, refused com­plaints from Sergei Mag­nit­sky against cruel treat­ment and denial of med­ical care and who pro­longed his detention.

Mr Krivoruchko has been placed on both US and EU Parliament-designated Mag­nit­sky sanc­tions lists.

The view of the French pub­lic pros­e­cu­tor is also in con­tra­dic­tion to the con­clu­sions by the 47-member state Par­lia­men­tary Assem­bly of the Coun­cil of Europe expressed in a report “Refus­ing Impunity for the Killers of Sergei Mag­nit­sky” and adopted by over­whelm­ing major­ity this Jan­u­ary (http://assembly.coe.int/nw/xml/XRef/Xref-XML2HTML-en.asp?fileid=20409&lang=en; http://assembly.coe.int/nw/xml/XRef/Xref-XML2HTML-FR.asp?fileid=20409&lang=FR).

Pros­e­cu­tor Pon­sard also ignores an ear­lier res­o­lu­tion by the same inter­na­tional body which con­cluded that mutual legal assis­tance to Rus­sia should not be pro­vided in politically-motivated and abu­sive crim­i­nal cases, high­light­ing among such cases offi­cial attacks on Sergei Mag­nit­sky and other Her­mitage lawyers in Russia.

Russ­ian polit­i­cal cam­paigner and world chess mas­ter, Garry Kas­parov, who attended the hear­ing in Lyon, said on his Face­book account:

[Pros­e­cu­tor] Pon­sard dis­counts …that seven of the Russ­ian judges and inves­ti­ga­tors [and oth­ers] in the case are on the US sanc­tions list for the per­se­cu­tion of Sergei Mag­nit­sky, an anti-corruption attor­ney who died hor­ri­bly in prison… We all know there is no jus­tice in Putin’s Rus­sia. I was very much hop­ing to see bet­ter here in France.”(https://www.facebook.com/GKKasparov/posts/10152818145798307)

The court deci­sion in this pro­ceed­ing is expected on Octo­ber 24, 2014, accord­ing to French press reports.

For fur­ther infor­ma­tion please contact:

Her­mitage Cap­i­tal
Phone: +44 207 440 1777
Email: info@lawandorderinrussia.org
Web­site: http://lawandorderinrussia.org
Face­book: http://on.fb.me/hvIuVI
Twit­ter: @KatieFisher__

Interpol has Re-opened the Browder Red Notice Case on the Back of Magnitsky’s Posthumous Trial

July 3, 2014

Inter­pol has Re–openedthe Brow­derRed Notice Case on the Back of Magnitsky’s Posthu­mous Trial

3 July 2014 – Doc­u­ments recently received from Inter­pol show that the Russ­ian gov­ern­ment has suc­cess­fully con­vinced Interpol’s Com­mis­sion for Con­trol of Files to re-open their con­sid­er­a­tion to issue an Inter­pol Red Notice for Bill Brow­der, by sub­mit­ting Mr Browder’s con­vic­tion in absen­tia in Rus­sia, where he was a co-defendant with the deceased Sergei Mag­nit­sky in the first ever posthu­mous trial in Russ­ian history.

Two pre­vi­ous Russ­ian attempts to get a Red Notice issued for Mr Brow­der failed because Inter­pol deemed those attempts were polit­i­cally moti­vated and vio­lated Interpol’s con­sti­tu­tion. Shortly after Interpol’s first rejec­tion of Russia’s request for Brow­der, Interpol’s Gen­eral Sec­re­tary wrote an edi­to­r­ial for the Daily Tele­graph news­pa­per, cit­ing Mr Browder’s case as the exam­ple for why reforms are not needed at Inter­pol (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/law-and-order/10082582/Interpol-makes-the-world-a-safer-place.html).

Strangely, Inter­pol has now decided to reopen the case based onthe Mag­nit­sky posthu­mous trial. Interpol’s Com­mis­sion for the Con­trol of Interpol’s Files said that it plans to re-examine the Russ­ian sub­mis­sion in rela­tion to Mr Brow­der at its next ses­sion in Octo­ber 2014.

It would be a true sig­nal of the need for reform of Inter­pol if a Red Notice were issued on the basis of the first posthu­mous trial in Europe since Pope For­mo­sus in 897,” said a Her­mitage Cap­i­tal representative.

In July 2013, Sergei Mag­nit­sky was con­victed of tax eva­sion three years after he was mur­dered in Russ­ian state cus­tody, in the first ever posthu­mous trial in Russ­ian his­tory. Bill Brow­der was con­victed as his co-defendant in the sec­ond ever trial in absen­tia against a West­erner. The trial was deemed to be polit­i­cally moti­vated and ille­git­i­mate by the Coun­cil of Europe, the Euro­pean Par­lia­ment and numer­ous inter­na­tional human rights organisations.

The con­vic­tions have since been upheld by the Moscow City court in Jan­u­ary this year, in the absence of lawyers for Mr Brow­der and Mr Mag­nit­sky. Instead, they were rep­re­sented by unknown lawyers appointed by the Russ­ian government.

In addi­tion to pre­sent­ing Inter­pol with the con­vic­tions from that trial as “new evi­dence,” the Russ­ian author­i­ties pre­sented a “fresh” arrest war­rant for Mr Brow­der, issued in March this year on the basis of the posthu­mous trial. The arrest war­rant was signed by Moscow judge Elena Stashina, who is sanc­tioned by the U.S. Gov­ern­ment for her role in the false deten­tion of Sergei Mag­nit­sky. Four days before Sergei Mag­nit­sky was mur­dered in police cus­tody, Judge Stashina pro­longed his deten­tion and denied Magnitsky’s med­ical care requests.

Judge Igor Alisov, who issued the posthu­mous con­vic­tion, was also placed on the U.S. Government’s sanc­tions list under the ‘U.S. Sergei Mag­nit­sky Rule of Law Account­abil­ity Act,’ for his role in con­ceal­ing the lia­bil­ity of offi­cials involved in Sergei Magnitsky’s death.

The doc­u­ments used in the posthu­mous trial were fab­ri­cated by Russ­ian Inte­rior Min­istry offi­cers, includ­ing offi­cers Artem Kuznetsov and Oleg Silchenko, also involved in Sergei Magnitsky’s false arrest and deten­tion, and who are also sanc­tioned by the U.S. Gov­ern­ment, which pro­hibits U.S. per­sons from any deal­ings with them.

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