Former detention center official acquitted in Magnitsky death case
MOSCOW, December 28 - RAPSI. The Tverskoy District Court of Moscow has acquitted the former pretrial detention center official, accused of negligence which resulted in Sergei Magnitsky death.
On November 24, 2008, Sergei Magnitsky, an auditor of London-based Hermitage Capital investment fund, was arrested on suspicion of masterminding large-scale corporate tax evasion. He died in a Moscow pretrial detention center on November 16, 2009 after spending a year behind bars. According to the Prosecutor General's Office, his death was caused by cardiovascular insufficiency.
Magnitsky's death evoked an international public outcry, triggered amendments to the Criminal Code and reshuffling of officials in the penal system.
Dmitry Kratov, former deputy head of Butyrka pretrial detention center, and the ward's doctor Larisa Litvinova were defendants in the case over Magnitsky’s death.
However, the case against Litvinova was closed last spring due to amendments to the Criminal Code affecting the statute of limitations.
On Monday this week, the prosecutor asked the court to acquit Dmitry Kratov as no link was established between the actions of the defendant and Magnitsky’s death.
According to investigators, Magnitsky and his accomplices stole hundreds of millions of rubles from the state budget by manipulating tax returns between September and October 2007.
In turn, Hermitage Capital maintains that it had paid 5.4 billion rubles ($182.75 million) in taxes, but the money was stolen by corporate raiders with the help of law enforcement officials. Magnitsky's prosecution has been attributed to this theft.
Magnitsky's prosecution was terminated after his death, but later the investigation was reopened. The Moscow City Court rejected an application in May filed by Magnitsky's relatives who demanded to close criminal case against him.
The Tverskoy District Court of Moscow will hold preliminary hearing in the case against Magnitsky on January 28, 2013.