Timeline of the Magnitsky scandal: The fraud that cost two lives


Jerome Taylor
Tuesday 27 November 2012 22:40 GMT
Sergei Magnitsky died in custody nine months after he was arrested
Sergei Magnitsky died in custody nine months after he was arrested

June 2007 – Russian police raid the offices of Hermitage Capital Management, officially to look for information on one of their investors. During the raid seals and corporate certificates are taken into evidence.

October 2007 – Using the seals and certificates, corrupt officials and criminal groups transfer ownership of a number of Hermitage’s Russian subsidiaries. The companies are involved in a string of litigation proceedings in a court in Tartarstan, 500-miles east of Moscow.

December 2007 – Fearing that companies have been stolen from them, Hermitage hires Moscow lawyer Sergei Magnitisky to investigate. That same month, the fraudulent owners of the Hermitage subsidiaries apply for and receive a $230m tax refund. Moscow tax offices 24 and 28 sign off on the deal.

July 2008 – After months of painstaking investigation, Magnitsky files a detailed criminal complaint with seven government agencies, naming a string of Russian government officials and criminal figures involved in the scam.

October 2008 – Magnitsky testifies to Russian prosecutors and gives an interview to Businessweek magazine. He is arrested days later and delivered to the very police officers and investigators he accused of carrying out the scam.

November 2009 – After months of interrogation, coercion and deliberately withdrawn medication in prison, Sergei Magnitsky dies.

2010 - Following the death of their lawyer, Hermitage go on the warpath, running their own investigation into the scam, naming officials online and launching a global campaign to bring political and diplomatic pressure on Russia to prosecute the perpetrators.

2011 – Political pressure beings to work. State Department puts 60 officials involved in the scam on visa ban list. UK unofficially does the same. Similar motions tabled in European Parliament, Canada, Netherlands and Poland.

2012 – At some point in early 2012 Alexander Perepilichnyy, a Russian businessman who helped the tax officials who signed off on the scam hide their new found wealth, begins working with Hermitage and Swiss prosecutors to expose how much of the money was laundered. In April Switzerland launches its own investigation and freezes assets in a number of Credit Suisse accounts.

November 10th 2012 – Mr Perepilichnyy, a seemingly healthy 44-year-old man, drops dead outside his home in Weybridge, Surrey.

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