MOSCOW, December 4 - RAPSI. The Prosecutor General's Office cannot file a new criminal case against Hermitage Capital fund auditor Sergei Magnitsky and the fund's head William Browder for procedural reasons, Alexander Antipov, the attorney of one of the defendants, told the Russian Legal Information Agency (RAPSI/rapsinews.com) on Tuesday.
According to the law, before a case is submitted to court, the indictment should be handed to the defendants, but if the defendants are not present, it should be handed to their attorneys, Antipov said.
But the lawyers "are not planning to do the investigators and the prosecutors bidding". "We will not go to get the indictment," he said. The attorney said that without this procedure the trial cannot start, so the case will remain at the Prosecutor General's Office.
Furthermore, Antipov stressed that his trustee Browder had not yet resolved the issue on the attorney's participation in the upcoming trial. The lawyers of the relatives of the late Magnitsky previously said they were determined not to take part in the trial against him.
Last week, the Prosecutor General's Office reported on the approval of an indictment in the criminal case regarding William Browder and Sergei Magnitsky, who were brought to liability for evading to pay taxes worth more than 522 million rubles ($16.9 million) by falsifying tax returns and illegally using benefits for disabled individuals.
Sergei Magnitsky, the managing partner of the Firestone Duncan auditing firm and tax and legal consultant of the Hermitage Capital Management investment fund, was detained on November 24, 2008. On the same day the Investigative Committee charged Magnitsky with tax evasion as part of the Hermitage criminal case. On November 26, the Moscow Tverskoy District Court issued an arrest warrant in his name. On November 16, 2009, Sergei Magnitsy died in the Matrosskaya Tishina investigative isolation ward where he was being held.
The criminal case against British citizen Browder is held in his absentia, since the United Kingdom has refused to cooperate with Russia on this issue.