MOSCOW, January 13 (RAPSI) - The Russian Interior Ministry denied allegations that a new criminal case has been launched against Sergei Magnitsky, the auditor for Hermitage Capital who died in a Moscow detention facility in 2009.
Hermitage Capital issued a press release Monday stating: “It has now been disclosed that the Russian Interior Ministry has opened a second posthumous case against Sergei Magnitsky."
However, the Interior Ministry’s Press Service told RIA Novosti Monday: “This statement is false. No criminal case has been opened by the Investigative Department of the Interior Ministry or any other investigative authority of the ministry.”
“It is not a common practice in Russia to open criminal cases against a dead person,” a spokesperson said, adding that the allegations were “nonsense.”
On November 24, 2008, Magnitsky was arrested on suspicion of masterminding large-scale corporate tax evasion. He died in a Moscow pretrial detention center on November 16, 2009 after having spent a year behind bars. According to the Prosecutor General's Office, his death was caused by heart failure.
The case was closed after his death, only to be reopened later. Under Russian law, persons can be prosecuted after their death under already existing cases. On July 11, the Tverskoy District Court in Moscow convicted the late British Hermitage Capital Fund auditor of tax evasion.