Gee-Wiz â€“ what’s happening in Russia these days? Corruption, lies, murder, and it all seems to get suspiciously brushed under the carpet away from the public eye â€“ it is really beginning to look like the last days of the Soviet empire.
Sergey Magnitsky was mysteriously laid to rest on Monday November 24th in a pre-detention center in Moscow. The 37-year-old lawyer was a key witness in a fierce battle of alleged tax fraud between the Russian government and Hermitage Capital Management â€“ once the country’s top investment fund.
Last November a case was filed by the government against the company’s co-founder William Browder. Browder had accused Russian officials of using Hermitage and like companies to fake tax refunds, there by duping Russian taxpayers out of millions.
The young Magnitsky was arrested in connection to his involvement with Hermitage Capital Management. He was being kept for the better part of a year in Matrosskaya Tishina jail; and this is where it starts getting weirdâ€¦
A 40-page affidavit sent to Russia’s general prosecutor Yuri Chaika explained that Magnitsky who suffered from acute pancreatitis, was denied numerous requests to see a doctor. The attorney’s eventual death was ascribed to a ruptured abdominal membrane. The affidavit went on to describe the unsanitary conditions of the prison. “At night you can hear them squeaking,” wrote
Magnitsky of the rats who ran up and down the halls of the jail. He was held in a cramped 8.2 square meter cell with two others; and he claimed that he was starved during court outings. He was also refused the right to see his wife and two young children.
Sergey Magnitsky’s lawyer Dmitry Karitnov had called for a criminal investigation into the officials in charge of the pre-detention facility â€“ but get this â€“ he was shot down. Russia’s procurator said there would be no criminal investigation until a complete review of the death has been completed.
Now that the story is all over the media, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev is calling for an investigation into Magnitsky’s death.
Browder who has been barred from Russia since 2005 because of similar matters, denies committing tax fraud. There is little chance that he could be extradited, but the Londoner was however put on the Interpol wanted list.