No Charges In Russian Hedge Fund Lawyer’s Death

Jul 1 2010 | 11:11am ET

Investigators will not face criminal charges in the death of hedge fund lawyer Sergei Magnitsky, a Russian investigative committee has decided.

The committee declined to file charges against the investigators who requested that Magnitsky remained jailed during their probe of alleged tax evasion stemming from his work for British hedge fund Hermitage Capital Management. Magnitsky died in November after nearly a year in one of Moscow’s most notorious prisons, where his lawyers and human rights activists say he was denied adequate medical care and tortured.

Magnitsky had accused Russian Interior Ministry officials of defrauding Hermitage, once the largest foreign investor in Russia, of US$230 million. Russia, in turn, accused Hermitage and its founder, William Browder, an outspoken critic of Russian corporate governance, of a US$16.9 million tax evasion.

Lyudmila Alexeyeva, the human rights activist championing Magnitsky’s case, has promised to appeal.

The decision not to file charges comes as a second medical report on Magnitsky’s death found that the lawyer had died of a sudden heart attack. Hermitage blasted that conclusion as offering a fig-leaf for the investigators.

The findings “do not seem trustworthy and are aimed at covering up the crimes committed against him—illegal arrest and intentional deprivation of life,” the hedge fund said in a statement.

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