Posts Tagged ‘ap’

03
January 2014

Latvia Adopts Euro, Dirty Money an Issue

Epoch Times

When Latvia adopts the euro on Jan. 1, it will bring with it a banking sector that is swelling with suspicious money from Russia and the East—just as the currency bloc is clamping down on money laundering and other illicit banking activities.

It was just nine months ago that the eurozone had to rescue Cyprus, a similarly tiny member state that also specialized in attracting huge deposits from Russia and former Soviet states. Since then, eurozone leaders have vowed to crack down on financial sanctuaries and improve transparency.

But as the 18th member of the eurozone, Latvia is likely to see a greater—not smaller—influx of dirty money as the country will be viewed as safer than its eastern neighbors while financial oversight remains loose.

“Immediately after Latvia joins the eurozone, I imagine we’re going to see an actual spike in dubious money flowing in,” said Mark Galeotti, a professor at New York University who researches organized crime in the former Soviet Union.

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14
October 2013

UK High Court throws out Russia-linked libel suit

Bloomberg

Britain’s High Court has thrown out a libel case brought by a former Russian police officer against a London-based financier who is a critic of corruption in Russia.

Retired policeman Pavel Karpov sued Hermitage Capital Management and its chief executive, William Browder, who has accused Karpov of being part of a network of corrupt Russian officials.

Judge Peregrine Simon ruled Monday that Karpov had only minor links to Britain, and dismissed the suit.

The case is part of the labyrinthine saga surrounding the death of Sergei Magnitsky, a Russian lawyer hired by Hermitage Capital, who accused Russian police officials of stealing $230 million in tax rebates after illegally seizing Hermitage subsidiaries.

Magnistky was arrested in 2008 for tax evasion and died in prison in 2009 while awaiting trial.

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14
October 2013

Britain’s High Court throws out libel suit related to dead Russian lawyer Sergei Magnitsky

Washington Post

Britain’s High Court on Monday threw out a libel case brought by a former Russian police officer against a London-based financier who is a fierce critic of corruption in Russia.

Retired policeman Pavel Karpov sued Hermitage Capital Management and its chief executive, William Browder, who has accused Karpov of being part of a network of corrupt officials complicit in the death of a Russian lawyer, Sergei Magnitsky.

Judge Peregrine Simon dismissed the suit, ruling that Karpov had only minor links to Britain and “there is a degree of artificiality about his seeking to protect his reputation in this country.”

Browder called the judgment a victory against so-called libel tourism — the practice of litigants taking cases to court in Britain, even when there is no strong link to the country, because the British legal system is perceived as friendly to their claims.

“I think this is a precedent-setting case,” Browder said “If you are a dubious foreign chancer, this precedent makes it much less likely you will succeed in the libel courts.”

The case is part of the labyrinthine saga surrounding the death of Magnitsky, a Russian lawyer hired by Hermitage Capital, who accused Russian police officials of stealing $230 million in tax rebates after illegally seizing Hermitage subsidiaries.

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11
September 2013

U.S. Seeks Forfeiture of Manhattan Real Estate Tied to Fraud

New York Times

Federal authorities announced on Tuesday that they were seeking forfeiture of expensive Manhattan real estate tied to a fraud that they say was uncovered by a whistle-blowing Russian lawyer before he died behind bars.

A civil forfeiture complaint filed against the assets of a Cyprus-based real estate corporation and other holding companies contends that some of the proceeds from a $230 million tax fraud in Russia were laundered through the purchase of four luxury condominiums in a Wall Street doorman building, where apartments can sell for more than $3 million, and two commercial spaces in prime locations in Midtown and Chelsea.

“Today’s forfeiture action is a significant step toward uncovering and unwinding a complex money-laundering scheme arising from a notorious foreign fraud,” Preet Bharara, the United States attorney in Manhattan, said in a statement. “While New York is a world financial capital, it is not a safe haven for criminals seeking to hide their loot, no matter how and where their fraud took place.”

The whistle-blower, Sergei Magnitsky, was a lawyer for the British investor William Browder, who was born in the United States. Mr. Magnitsky said in 2008 that organized criminals colluded with corrupt Russian Interior Ministry officials to fraudulently claim a $230 million tax rebate after illegally seizing subsidiaries of Mr. Browder’s Hermitage Capital investment company.

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15
July 2013

DEAD RUSSIAN LAWYER MAGNITSKY FOUND GUILTY

Associated Press

More than three years after he died in prison, whistle-blowing Russian lawyer Sergei Magnitsky was found guilty of tax evasion by a Moscow court Wednesday.

The posthumous trial of Magnitsky was a macabre chapter in a case that ignited a high-emotion dispute between Russia and Washington that has included U.S. sanctions against Russians deemed to be human rights violators, a ban on the adoption of Russian children by U.S. citizens and calls for the closure of Russian non-governmental organizations receiving American funding.

Magnitsky was a lawyer for U.S.-born British investor William Browder when he alleged in 2008 that organized criminals colluded with corrupt Interior Ministry officials to claim a fraudulent $230 million tax rebate after illegally seizing subsidiaries of Browder’s Hermitage Capital investment company.

He subsequently was arrested on tax evasion charges and died in prison in November 2009 of untreated pancreatitis at age 37.

His death prompted widespread criticism from human rights activists and the presidential human rights council found in 2011 that he had been beaten and deliberately denied medical treatment.

Announcing his verdict Thursday, Judge Igor Alisov said “Magnitsky masterminded a massive tax evasion scheme in a … conspiracy with a group of people,” according to the ITAR-Tass news agency.

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16
April 2013

US identifies alleged Russian human-rights abusers targeted for sanctions

Associated Press

The Treasury Department on Friday announced sanctions against 18 Russians over human rights violations, but avoided some prominent officials whose inclusion could have enflamed U.S.-Russian relations.

U.S. lawmakers who backed the sanctions viewed the list as timid while a prominent Russian lawmaker said it could have been worse. State Department officials denied that political considerations had been a factor.

The list was mandated by a law passed last year and named for Russian lawyer Sergei Magnitsky, who was arrested in 2008 for tax evasion after accusing Russian police officials of stealing $230 million in tax rebates. He died in prison the next year, allegedly after being beaten and denied medical treatment.

The list included Artem Kuznetsov and Pavel Karpov, two Russian Interior Ministry officers who put Magnitsky behind bars after he accused them of stealing $230 million from the state. Two tax officials the lawyer accused of approving the fraudulent tax refunds, and several other Interior Ministry officials accused of persecuting Magnitsky were also on the list. Absent were senior officials from President Vladimir Putin’s entourage whom some human rights advocates had hoped to see sanctioned.

Magnitsky’s former client, London-based investor William Browder, who has campaigned to bring those responsible in his death to justice, has claimed that one of those tax officials, Olga Stepanova, has bought luxury real estate in Moscow, Dubai and Montenegro and wired money through her husband’s bank accounts worth $39 million.

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11
March 2013

Trial of dead Russian whistleblower postponed

Associated Press

A Russian court on Monday postponed the trial of a dead lawyer who accused law-enforcement authorities of massive corruption and whose case sparked a dispute between Washington and Moscow.

Lawyer Sergei Magnitsky was jailed in 2008 on charges of tax evasion. The charges came after he alleged officials and organized criminals conspired to claim $230 million in tax rebates. He died in prison the next year of untreated pancreatitis while awaiting trial. The Russian presidential council on human rights said in a 2011 report that Magnitsky had been repeatedly beaten and deliberately denied medical treatment.

The death attracted wide international attention. The United States last year enacted a law named after Magnitsky that allows sanctions against Russians considered human rights violators. Russia retaliated by banning Americans adopting Russian children.

The posthumous trial for Magnitsky was to open Monday.

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05
March 2013

Police Set to Charge Browder for Buying Gazprom Stock

Moscow Times

The Interior Ministry is preparing to bring criminal charges against U.S.-born investor Bill Browder, the latest turn in a feud that has led to U.S. sanctions against Russian officials, a Russian ban on U.S. adoptions of Russian children and the upcoming posthumous trial of Sergei Magnitsky.

Magnitsky worked as a lawyer for Browder’s Hermitage Capital, once a minority shareholder in the state-controlled gas giant, Gazprom. He died in jail in 2009 after his pancreatitis went untreated. The Kremlin human rights council said in a 2011 report that Magnitsky had been repeatedly beaten and deliberately denied medical treatment.

Magnitsky and Browder are due to be put on trial next week for tax evasion.

Browder, a British citizen, has been barred from Russia since 2005 as a security threat, according to Russian officials. He has campaigned to bring those responsible for Magnitsky’s death to justice.

Mikhail Alexandrov from the Interior Ministry’s Investigative Department said Tuesday that there is sufficient evidence to charge Browder with misappropriation for allegedly using subsidiaries to amass a 3 billion ruble stake in Gazprom between 2001 to 2004. Until 2005, foreign investors were not allowed to hold more than 9 percent of Gazprom shares.

“We’re talking about not only personal enrichment with the violation of Russian laws by illegally buying up stocks in strategically important gas monopolist Gazprom, but it’s about intending to impose their own rules on that company,” Alexandrov said.

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05
March 2013

RUSSIA TO CHARGE MAGNITSKY’S EX-EMPLOYER

AP

Russia’s Interior Ministry is preparing to bring criminal charges against U.S.-born investor Bill Browder, the latest turn in a feud which has led to U.S. sanctions against on some Russian officials, a Russian ban on adoptions of Russian children by Americans, and the upcoming trial of a dead man.

The dead man is Sergei Magnitsky, a lawyer who worked for Browder’s Hermitage Capital, once a minority shareholder in the state-controlled gas giant, Gazprom.

Magnitsky died in jail in 2009 after his pancreatitis went untreated. The Russian presidential council on human rights said in a 2011 report that Magnitsky had been repeatedly beaten and deliberately denied medical treatment. The lawyer’s death became a litmus test for the Russian government’s commitment to the rule of law: no one has yet been found responsible for his killing.

Magnitsky and Browder are due to be put on trial next week for tax evasion.

Russia’s top court ruled in August 2011 that posthumous trials are allowed, with the intention of letting relatives clear their loved ones’ names. In Magnitsky’s case, prosecutors re-filed charges although family members said they didn’t want another trial.

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