MOSCOW, July 11 (RAPSI, Diana Gutsul) - The Tverskoi District Curt in Moscow on Thursday found Hermitage Capital CEO William Browder guilty of tax evasion and sentenced him in absentia to nine years in a low security correctional prison, RAPSI reports from the court.

This is exactly what the prosecutor had asked for.

Browder's attorneys plan to appeal the ruling, Kirill Goncharov told RAPSI after the hearing.

Nikolai Gerasimov, the lawyer for Hermitage Capital auditor Sergei Magnitsky, who died in pretrial detention in 2009 and was also found guilty of tax evasion, is not sure he will file an appeal against the court's decision to dismiss the case due to his client's death.

Browder is believed to have illegally purchased Gazprom stock when foreign ownership of the world's largest natural gas producer was restricted.

He was on trial in absentia alongside Magnitsky for the alleged embezzlement of hundreds of millions of rubles from the federal budget by manipulating tax returns between September and October 2007.

Hermitage Capital maintains that it paid 5.4 billion rubles ($180 million) in taxes, but the money was stolen by corporate raiders with the help of law enforcement officials.

Magnitsky was also prosecuted for this theft. The case was closed after he died in pretrial detention in 2009, only to be reopened later. Under Russian law, a person can be prosecuted after their death.

In March 2013, Browder announced that Hermitage Capital would cease its operations in Russia.