MOSCOW, January 16 (RAPSI, Diana Gutsul) - Russia's Investigative Committee has refused to launch a probe into alleged mistreatment of Hermitage Capital auditor Sergei Magnitsky who died in 2009 in a Moscow pretrial center while awaiting trial on embezzlement charges, according to a statement released by Hermitage Capital on Friday.
Sergei Magnitsky's mother claims that her son was handcuffed and beaten with rubber batons before he died. She insists that independent expert examinations confirmed that Magnitsky was tortured while in custody.
The fund's statement says that the Investigative Committee nevertheless decided to refuse the probe again, based on "existing evidence" and decisions made by head investigator and prosecutor.
"The Investigative Committee's resolution does not state the reasons why the individuals involved in using batons and handcuffs against Magnitsky before his death were not held liable”, the fund's statement reads.
Magnitsky worked for Firestone Duncan and represented Hermitage Capital which was accused of tax evasion by Russian authorities. Magnitsky was arrested on fraud charges in November 2008 and found dead in a Moscow detention center in November 2009.
Last July, Moscow's Tverskoy District Court found Magnitsky guilty of tax evasion and closed the case due to his death. According to the case materials, Magnitsky’s and Hermitage Capital director William Browder’s actions cost the Russian Federation over 500 million rubles (about $7.7 mln). Browder was sentenced to nine years in prison in absentia.
The lawyer’s death resulted in a huge public response. The defendants in the case included ex-chief of the Butyrsky Detention Facility, Dmitry Kratov, and the facility’s doctor, Larisa Litvinova. The criminal case against Litvinova was closed due to changes in the criminal code, under which the statute of limitations had expired. Kratov, who was charged with improper execution of his duties, was found not guilty by the Tverskoy District Court since there was no relationship found between his actions and Magnitsky’s death.
Sergei Magnitsky's mother appealed the ruling in the Moscow City Court and requested the case be reopened. The court rejected the appeal.