MOSCOW, November 23 - RAPSI. The Interior Ministry has no role in the investigation into officials' involvement in the embezzlement of the 5.4 bln rubles ($173.3mln) as part of the Magnitsky case, the ministry's press center reported on Thursday.

The Interior Ministry therefore refutes the information that the Hermitage Capital fund received a notification from the Interior Ministry in regard to this matter.

On Wednesday, Hermitage Capital reported that Russia's Interior Ministry had informed the company that no evidence had been found to substantiate the fund's claim that Russian officials had embezzled 5.4 billion rubles from the Russian budget. According to Hermitage Capital, this was conveyed by a notification from high-ranking police official Yuri Shinin to Magnitsky's former colleague, Jamison Firestone.

"Holding investigations into the aforementioned officials' actions has never been within the Interior Ministry's competence," the ministrys statement reads.

The fund's statement read that investigator Ramil Filippov investigated the case.

"The announcement that Interior Ministry investigator Ramil Filippov exempted all officials involved in the theft of billions of rubles from liability is mistaken. There is no one who works in the Investigative Department by that name. There is the head of the fourth department, Ruslan Filippov, but he bears no relation at all to the investigation of this case," the press release reads.

On November 24, 2008, Magnitsky was arrested on suspicion of tax crimes. He was charged with masterminding large-scale corporate tax evasion. He died in a Moscow pretrial detention center on November 16, 2009 after spending a year behind bars. His death sparked a public outcry and triggered amendments to the Criminal Code and a reshuffling of officials in the penal system.

According to investigators, Magnitsky and his accomplices stole hundreds of millions of rubles from the state by manipulating tax returns between September and October 2007.

In turn, Hermitage Capital maintained that it had paid 5.4 billion rubles ($173.3mln) in taxes, but the money was stolen, abetted by law enforcement officials. Magnitsky's prosecution has been attributed to this theft.