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.

News
Jennifer Lawrence was among the stars allegedly hacked
peopleActress among those on 'master list' of massive hack
Sport
Radamel Falcao
footballManchester United agree loan deal for Monaco striker Falcao
Voices
A man shoots at targets depicting a portrait of Russian President Vladimir Putin, in a shooting range in the center of the western Ukrainian city of Lviv
voicesIt's cowardice to pretend this is anything other than an invasion
Arts and Entertainment
The eyes have it: Kate Bush
music
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn evocation of the conflict through the eyes of those who lived through it
Sport
Louis van Gaal, Radamel Falcao, Arturo Vidal, Mats Hummels and Javier Hernandez
footballFalcao, Hernandez, Welbeck and every deal live as it happens
Arts and Entertainment
booksNovelist takes aim at Orwell's rules for writing plain English
Arts and Entertainment
Al Pacino in ‘The Humbling’, as an ageing actor
filmHam among the brilliance as actor premieres two films at festival
News
Fifi Trixibelle Geldof with her mother, Paula Yates, in 1985
people
Arts and Entertainment
Downton Abbey fans rejoice, series five returns later this month
TV
News
i100
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Upper KS2 Primary Teacher in Bradford

£21000 - £30000 per annum: Randstad Education Leeds: Upper KS2 Primary Teacher...

KS1 Float Teacher

£90 - £130 per day + Excellent rates of pay : Randstad Education Southampton: ...

Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£18000 - £23000 per annum + OTE: SThree: SThree are seeking Trainee Recruitmen...

KS1 Primary Teacher in Bradford

£21000 - £30000 per annum: Randstad Education Leeds: KS1 Primary Teacher in Br...

Day In a Page

Alexander Fury: The designer names to look for at fashion week this season

The big names to look for this fashion week

This week, designers begin to show their spring 2015 collections in New York
Will Self: 'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

Will Self takes aim at Orwell's rules for writing plain English
Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Toy guns proving a popular diversion in a country flooded with the real thing
Al Pacino wows Venice

Al Pacino wows Venice

Ham among the brilliance as actor premieres two films at festival
Neil Lawson Baker interview: ‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.

Neil Lawson Baker interview

‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.
The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

Wife of President Robert Mugabe appears to have her sights set on succeeding her husband
The model of a gadget launch: Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed

The model for a gadget launch

Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed
Alice Roberts: She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

Alice Roberts talks about her new book on evolution - and why her early TV work drew flak from (mostly male) colleagues
Get well soon, Joan Rivers - an inspiration, whether she likes it or not

Get well soon, Joan Rivers

She is awful. But she's also wonderful, not in spite of but because of the fact she's forever saying appalling things, argues Ellen E Jones
Doctor Who Into the Dalek review: A classic sci-fi adventure with all the spectacle of a blockbuster

A fresh take on an old foe

Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering
Fashion walks away from the celebrity runway show

Fashion walks away from the celebrity runway show

As the collections start, fashion editor Alexander Fury finds video and the internet are proving more attractive
Meet the stars of TV's Wolf Hall... and it's not the cast of the Tudor trilogy

Meet the stars of TV's Wolf Hall...

... and it's not the cast of the Tudor trilogy
Weekend at the Asylum: Europe's biggest steampunk convention heads to Lincoln

Europe's biggest steampunk convention

Jake Wallis Simons discovers how Victorian ray guns and the martial art of biscuit dunking are precisely what the 21st century needs
Don't swallow the tripe – a user's guide to weasel words

Don't swallow the tripe – a user's guide to weasel words

Lying is dangerous and unnecessary. A new book explains the strategies needed to avoid it. John Rentoul on the art of 'uncommunication'
Daddy, who was Richard Attenborough? Was the beloved thespian the last of the cross-generation stars?

Daddy, who was Richard Attenborough?

The atomisation of culture means that few of those we regard as stars are universally loved any more, says DJ Taylor