Russian Cop Accuses Hermitage Of Libel, Fraud

Jul 14 2010 | 11:54am ET

A Russian police officer accused of playing a role in the death of Hermitage Capital Management lawyer Sergei Magnitsky is pointing the finger at the hedge fund itself.

Pavel Karpov has asked the Russian prosecutor general to open criminal cases against Hermitage founder William Browder, Magnitsky’s former boss Jamison Firestone and another lawyer for allegedly libeling him. Karpov claims that Browder, who is already wanted in Russia on tax fraud charges, has employed his “financial resources” to slander Karpov and the Russian police, and alleges that “the only person who stood to gain from the death of Sergei Magnitsky was William Browder himself,” The Telegraph reports.

At issue is a YouTube video posted by Firestone, accusing Karpov of participating in the cover-up of Magnitsky’s death in November. Magnitsky died after a year in one of Moscow’s most notorious prisons, where he was allegedly tortured and denied adequate medical care. Russian authorities had accused Magnitsky or tax fraud after Magnitsky and Hermitage accused Russian Interior Ministry officials of defrauding Hermitage, once the largest foreign investor in Russia, of US$230 million.

Firestone’s video seeks to show that Karpov is living a lifestyle far above his US$500 monthly salary, alleging that he has spent US$1.3 million on luxury items since the Hermitage fraud.

Hermitage denies the allegations.

“It is a hugely cynical move for the man who Sergei testified against to turn round an put the blame for the fraud on Sergei and other victims after Sergei was tortured to death,” Browder told the Telegraph.

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