Russian Officials With Magnitsky Ties Barred From U.S.

Jul 27 2011 | 11:08am ET

The U.S. State Department has instituted a visa ban against Russian officials connected with the death in 2009 of hedge fund lawyer Sergei Magnitsky.

The ban on travel to the U.S. covers 60 people, and comes less than a month after a damning report on Magnitsky's death issued by Medvedev's human rights investigative committee. That committee found that Magnitsky, who represented Hermitage Capital Management, was denied adequate medical care and eventually beaten to death after almost a year in custody on tax fraud charges.

The State Dept. did not officially notify Russia of the decision, which was disclosed in a letter to 19 senators pushing for even tougher sanctions against the Interior Ministry officials, including asset freezes.

That would "have foreign policy implications that could hurt our international sanctions effort on countries like Iran, North Korea and Libya, and jeopardize other areas of cooperation including transit to Afghanistan," the State Dept. said.

Russia, which has previously blasted foreign intervention in the case, took a more diplomatic approach yesterday. Mikhail Fedotov, who heads the committee that wrote the report, said Russian understands the State Dept.'s "noble goals," but warned, "one also needs to see possible unpleasant consequences."

Russia recently opened a criminal probe into two former prison doctors implicated in the Magnitsky case.

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