US risks angering Russia by publishing blacklist
Diplomatic friction as Washington names Russian officials banned over Magnitsky affair
Washington risked reopening a diplomatic rift with Moscow following the publication of a blacklist of Russian officials who are banned from the United States because of their alleged involvement in the death in custody of the whistleblowing lawyer Sergei Magnitsky.
Earlier in the day Moscow had warned that any decision to go ahead and release the list could damage relations between the two countries. Washington passed legislation banning the officials in December but had so far put off making the list public until now.
According to the list released last night on the Treasury’s website there are 18 officials who have been named. It was compiled in the wake of the arrest and death in custody of Mr Magnitsky, a father of two and Moscow-based lawyer who helped expose a multi-million dollar tax scam that was allegedly carried out by criminal underworld figures allied with Russian officials and police officers.
Among those included on the blacklist is Pavel Karpov, a former interior ministry police officer who is currently suing William Browder in the UK courts for libel. Mr Browder, a millionaire hedge fund manager and staunch critic of official corruption inside Russia, employed Mr Magnitsky to uncover a $230million tax scam against a series of subsidiaries that were once owned by his company Hermitage capital.
After publicly naming a number of officials Mr Magnistky was arrested for tax evasion and died nine months later in prison. His family, rights groups and Russian’s own human rights investigation body say there was evidence he was beaten in custody and denied vital medication.
Mr Browder has named Mr Karpov as one of the officials behind the scam. However the former detective has vehemently denied any involvement and has launched a libel case against him in the High Court.
Other Russian police officers named on the American list include Mr Karpov’s once bosses Artem Kuznetsov and Oleg Silchenko – both of whom have also denied involvement in the scam.
Olga Stepanova, a former tax official, is also named on the list. Her department was one of two Moscow tax offices who signed off on a fraudulent tax rebate in just 24 hours on Christmas Eve 2008. With the help Alexander Perepilichnyy, another whistle blower, Mr Browder’s investigators helped uncover how Mrs Stepanova and her divorcee husband have become exceptionally wealthy in the wake of the scam. The Stepanovs, however, insist that their money was gleaned through entirely legitimate means.
Mr Perepilichnyy, who was helping Swiss investigators uncover how much of the money was fraudulently laundered, was found dead outside his Surrey home in yet to be explained circumstances.
Russia has long promised that any blacklist from the US side would be met with a tit-for-tat list of US citizens to be banned from Russia
“We have said many times that this is all extremely destructive for bilateral relations, and we would never have initiated anything similar, we have enough problems in our relations as it is,” the Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said yesterday. “But given that the American side, both the administration and Congress, have decided to take a different path, we don’t have any option but to respond. Mr Ryabkov said that the response would be “equal and balanced”.
These are likely to include people allegedly implicated in the human rights abuses of Russian citizens, such as the US agents who arrested Viktor Bout on charges of weapons smuggling, as well as other officials responsible for CIA secret prisons and the Guantanamo Bay detention facility. However, banning US officials from Russia does not quite have the same resonance as a ban on US property and assets for Russian officials, many of whom have stashed money abroad in recent years. Aware of this, Moscow also introduced a ban on the adoption of Russian children by US citizens, a move that produced outcry among the liberal opposition as well as many ordinary Russians.
Emergency call 'started off dumb, but got pretty serious'
Britain First criticised for using actress's memory to draw attention to their 'hate-filled home page'
Thought you'd seen it all after the Jeremy Paxman interview?
Greatest mystery about the hit BBC1 show is how it continues to be made at all, writes Grace Dent
"History is violent," says the US Army tank commander Don "Wardaddy" Collier
Striker's four-month ban for biting an opponent expires on Friday
Argentinian scored 'rabona' wonder goal for Tottenham in Europa League – see it here
- 1 This 'woman calls police to order pizza' story isn't going where you're expecting
- 2 Watch what happened when food critics were unknowingly served McDonald's
- 3 Jimmy Carr's controversial Oscar Pistorius joke goes a bit too far at the Q Awards
- 4 Ottawa shootings: Bruce MacKinnon's cartoon is the perfect tribute to soldier Nathan Cirillo
- 5 Of course, teenage girls need role models – but not like beauty vlogger Zoella
Isis releases first video showing the stoning of woman accused of committing adultery as her father shouts 'don't call me Dad'
This 'woman calls police to order pizza' story isn't going where you're expecting
FCKH8: YouTube reinstates provocative anti-sexism video showing young girls swearing
Diwali: What is the festival of lights – and how is it celebrated around the world?
Jimmy Carr's controversial Oscar Pistorius joke goes a bit too far at the Q Awards
Of course, teenage girls need role models – but not like beauty vlogger Zoella
Cameron is warned 'no possibility' of UK reducing immigration and that bid to bring in quota on migrant workers would be illegal
Support for EU membership 'at highest level since 1991' with most Brits wanting to stay 'in'
Thousands with degenerative conditions classified as 'fit to work in future' – despite no possibility of improvement
Residents should throw a street party and mix with immigrant neighbours, councils told
Attacks on 'Ukip Calypso' show how skewed people’s priorities are
£120 - £125 per day: Randstad Education Luton: The Job Randstad Education are ...
£350 Per Day: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client based in Reading are...
competitive benefits: Sauce Recruitment: Outstanding analytic expertise is req...
Highly Attractive Package: Austen Lloyd: A VERY HIGH QUALITY FIRM - A high q...