MOSCOW, November 19 (RAPSI) – A new criminal case has been opened against Hermitage Capital CEO William Browder in Russia on suspicion of organizing a criminal network, according to a Prosecutor General’s Office official Nikolay Atmonyev.
Browder would be placed on the international wanted list soon in a bid to be extradited to Russia, Atmonyev said during a Thursday briefing of the Prosecutor General’s Office. Hermitage Capital CEO could face up to 20 years in prison if convicted.
Moreover, he alleged that Hermitage Capital auditor Sergey Magnitsky could be murdered in prison.
On December 29, a Moscow court sentenced Browder to 9 years in prison in absentia for deliberate bankruptcy and tax evasion. His business partner Ivan Cherkasov received 8 years in prison. The defendants were also fined 200,000 rubles (about $3,000) each. Moreover, Moscow’s Tverskoy District Court granted a civil lawsuit and recovered 4.3 billion rubles (about $65 million) from the defendants in favor of the Russian Federation. In June, the sentence was upheld.
In 2013, a Russian court sentenced Browder in absentia to 9 years in a penal colony. The court found that between 1997 and 2002, Hermitage Capital auditor Sergey Magnitsky created and applied an illegal tax evasion scheme in the interests of Browder.
Magnitsky worked for Firestone Duncan and represented Hermitage Capital, which the Russian authorities accused of tax evasion. Magnitsky was arrested on fraud charges in November 2008 and found dead in a Moscow detention center in November 2009. The lawyer’s death provoked an international outcry.
In July 2013, 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 Russia over 500 million rubles (about $8 million).