STRASBOURG, January 28 (RAPSI) - A report by Swiss PACE member Andreas Gross on the Magnitsky case contains many inaccuracies according to Russia’s delegate, Leonid Slutsky, who spoke during a discussion of the document on Tuesday.
PACE (Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe) is reviewing the report by the Swiss assembly member on the death of Sergei Magnitsky who was charged with tax evasion and died in a Moscow detention facility in November 2009.
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.
Slutsky asserts that Magnitsky’s death has been surrounded by false allegations. For example, he was an accountant, not a human rights activist as stated in the report. Another false assertion is that Magnitsky was convicted in 2013. The delegate argues that there was no conviction since the case was closed after Magnitsky’s death.
Slutsky expressed his concern that the issue itself is becoming increasingly biased politically. He calls it an attempt to defame Russia and objects to proposals to forward the issue to the foreign ministers committee.
Andreas Gross, the author of the document, stressed that the report calls on Russia to bring those guilty of Magnitsky’s death to justice. It is the responsibility of Russia, Gross says, while the Council of Europe’s main objective is to prevent violations of the right to life.