Russian businessman Alexander Perepilichnyy wanted to make peace with officials he implicated in money laundering scheme

Mr Perepilichnyy was found dead outside his home in Weybridge, Surrey, two weeks ago

Russian businessman Alexander Perepilichnyy wanted to make peace with the group of officials he had accused of being behind a Swiss money laundering scheme in the run up to his death, a Moscow based lawyer claimed today.

Andrei Pavlov told Kommersant newspaper that he had met with the 44-year-old businessman twice in the last year and said that he appeared “stressed” but wanted a rapprochement with the people he had fled from two years earlier.

Mr Perepilichnyy was found dead outside his home in Weybridge, Surrey, two weeks ago. The results of his first post mortem proved inconclusive but police are running further tests including toxicology.

This week The Independent revealed that he had been helping Swiss prosecutors investigate a series of Credit Suisse bank accounts thought to have been used by Moscow tax officials and their families who became incredibly wealthy in the immediate aftermath of a tax fraud they signed off on.

The fraud was originally uncovered in 2008 by Sergei Magntisky, a lawyer who had been hired by the British investment fund Hermitage Capital Management. Mr Magnitsky named a string of Russian interior ministry officials and underworld figures as being behind the scam.

Instead of investigating his leads, Russian police arrested him and handed him over to the very people he had accused. He died in prison nine months later in a case that has become a domestic scandal for Russia and a major source of international embarrassment.

One of Mr Perepilichny’s acquaintances told Kommersant today that the Russian businessman had been involved in offering semi-legal banking services. “He was given money, he put it into shares and eventually legalised it,” the paper’s source was quoted as saying.

The source added that Mr Perepilichny had businessmen and corrupt Russian officials as his clients, and was handling hundreds of millions of dollars. However, during the financial crisis, he lost a huge amount of money and begun receiving threats from those whom he owed, deciding to flee to London in January 2010.

In London, he is believed to have passed documents to Hermitage Capital implicating a number of officials in the expropriation of $230m from the Russian state budget, notably tax official Olga Stepanova and her husband Vladlen Stepanov. Mr Stepanov has claimed previously that Mr Perepilichny was a business partner who had managed his finances and caused him losses, with investments in Dubai that dropped in value during the financial crisis.

Later, Mr Perepilichny wanted to patch things up with Mr Stepanov, according to Mr Pavlov, a lawyer whom Hermitage Capital have named as another of the key figures involved in the disappearance of the money that Mr Magnitsky was tracking, and who apparently met Mr Perepilichny twice last year. “He wanted to make peace with Stepanov,” the lawyer told Kommersant.

Mr Pavlov says Mr Perepilichny was worried about his security, and he advised him to deal with Mr Stepanov directly. Subsequently Mr Stepanov and Mr Perepilichny “apparently came to an agreement on everything,” according to Mr Pavlov.

The new details came as Russia’s prosecutor office officially forwarded their own criminal case against William Browder, the CEO and co-founder of Hermitage, and Mr Magnitsky. The move is part of an extraordinary posthumous prosecution of the man who brought Russia’s largest declared tax fraud to light and the British businessman who has spent years campaigning against the Russian government following the death of his lawyer.

Hermitage denies the charges against both Browder and Magnitsky and says they are politically motivated.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

John Palmer: 'Goldfinger' of British crime was murdered, say police

Murder of the Brink’s-MAT mastermind

'Goldfinger' of British crime's life ended in a blaze of bullets, say police
Forget little green men - aliens will look like humans, says Cambridge University evolution expert

Forget little green men

Leading evolutionary biologist says aliens will look like humans
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: An Algerian scientist adjusts to life working in a kebab shop

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

An Algerian scientist struggles to adjust to her new life working in a Scottish kebab shop
Bodyworlds museum: Dr Gunther von Hagens has battled legal threats, Parkinson's disease, and the threat of bankruptcy

Dying dream of Doctor Death

Dr Gunther von Hagens has battled legal threats, Parkinson's disease, and the threat of bankruptcy
UK heatwave: Temperature reaches 39.8 degrees on Central Line - the sweatiest place in London

39.8 degrees recorded on Tube

There's hot (London) and too damn hot (the Underground). Simon Usborne braved the Central line to discover what its passengers suffer
Kitchens go hi-tech: From robot chefs to recipe-shopping apps, computerised cooking is coming

Computerised cooking is coming

From apps that automatically make shopping lists from your recipe books to smart ovens and robot chefs, Kevin Maney rounds up innovations to make your mouth water
Jessie Cave interview: The Harry Potter star has published a feminist collection of cartoons

Jessie Cave's feminist cartoons

The Harry Potter star tells Alice Jones how a one-night stand changed her life
Football Beyond Borders: Even the most distruptive pupils score at homework club

Education: Football Beyond Borders

Add football to an after-school homework club, and even the naughtiest boys can score
10 best barbecue books

Fire up the barbie: 10 best barbecue books

We've got Bibles to get you grilling and smoking like a true south American pro
Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - Junk balls and chop and slice are only way 5ft 1in Kurumi Nara can live with Petra Kvitova’s power

Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon Files

Junk balls and chop and slice are only way 5ft 1in Kurumi Nara can live with Petra Kvitova’s power
Ron Dennis exclusive: ‘This is one of the best McLaren teams ever – we are going to do it’

‘This is one of the best McLaren teams ever – we are going to do it’

Ron Dennis shrugs off a poor start to the season in an exclusive interview, and says the glory days will come back
Seifeddine Rezgui: What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?

Making of a killer

What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?
UK Heatwave: Temperatures on the tube are going to exceed the legal limit for transporting cattle

Just when you thought your commute couldn't get any worse...

Heatwave will see temperatures on the Tube exceed legal limit for transporting cattle
Exclusive - The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Swapping Bucharest for London

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Meet the man who swapped Romania for the UK in a bid to provide for his family, only to discover that the home he left behind wasn't quite what it seemed
Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

Solar power will help bring down electricity prices over the next five years, according to a new report. But it’s cheap imports of ‘dirty power’ that will lower them the most