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MOSCOW, February 27 - RAPSI. The Moscow City Court validated the opening of a criminal case naming Sergei Magnitsky an accomplice in a $184.44 million theft, the Russian Legal Information Agency (RAPSI/rapsinews.com) reported from the courtroom on Monday.
Thus, the court has dismissed the appeal filed by Magnitsky's relatives against the Tverskoy District Court, which refused to dismiss the investigators' ruling on the new criminal case.
The relatives considered the decision groundless and immoral.
According to Nikolai Gorokhov, attorney of the deceased Magnitsky's mother, the contested criminal case was launched in summer 2011 by the Interior Ministry's Investigative Department. Investigators maintained that Magnitsky and his five accomplices, "having arranged by deceit an unlawful refund to taxpayers of allegedly overpaid corporate tax stole from the Russian and Moscow budget 5.409 billion rubles ($185.75 million)."
Two individuals were sentenced to five years in prison for the crime. The Prosecutor General's Office told the Investigative Committee that investigators had failed to protect the state's interests and do their best to search for and return the funds and establish the guilty parties.
As a result, a money laundering case was opened in summer 2011. Investigators believe that after the theft, "unknown individuals in an organized group performed financial operations and transactions involving the money stolen from the budget to legalize their proceeds."
Magnitsky, an auditor for the Hermitage Capital Management Fund, was charged with large-scale corporate tax evasion. He died in a Moscow pretrial detention center on November 16, 2009 after spending nearly a year behind bars.