Hermitage Capital blasts Magnitsky’s posthumous conviction

Memorial Flowers and Photo of Sergei Magnitsky

(Interfax – MOSCOW, July 11, 2013) British investment fund Hermitage Capital has attacked Thursday’s posthumous conviction of its lawyer Sergei Magnitsky and in absentia conviction of its chief executive William Browder.

“This trial reflects the authorities’ disrespect for fundamental international legal values and personal rights and freedoms,” Hermitage said in a statement made available to Interfax.

Moscow’s Tverskoi Court convicted Magnitsky, who died in a Moscow detention center in November 2009, and Browder of tax evasion.

“By organizing the posthumous trial of Magnitsky and the in absentia trial of Browder for alleged tax offenses, the Russian authorities ignored the statute of limitations in every instance – the tax collection deadline expired nine years ago, in 2004, and the prosecution deadline two years ago, in 2011,” the statement said.

“William Browder’s lawyers, who discovered numerous instances of falsification, document forgery and violations of law in the criminal case and filed complaints about this, were denied access to the court’s and investigators’ records of the case, and hence were prevented from carrying out their professional obligation. Instead, state-appointed defense lawyers participated in the posthumous trial,” Hermitage said.

“The objective of Magnitsky’s trial is to gloss over his murder and distract public attention from crimes committed by state officials,” it said.