The Magnitskiy Myth Exploded 181

The conscientious judges of the European Court of Human Rights published a judgement a fortnight ago which utterly exploded the version of events promulgated by Western governments and media in the case of the late Mr Magnitskiy. Yet I can find no truthful report of the judgement in the mainstream media at all.

The myth is that Magnitskiy was an honest rights campaigner and accountant who discovered corruption by Russian officials and threatened to expose it, and was consequently imprisoned on false charges and then tortured and killed. A campaign over his death was led by his former business partner, hedge fund manager Bill Browder, who wanted massive compensation for Russian assets allegedly swindled from their venture. The campaign led to the passing of the Magnitskiy Act in the United States, providing powers for sanctioning individuals responsible for human rights abuses, and also led to matching sanctions being developed by the EU.

However the European Court of Human Rights has found, in judging a case brought against Russia by the Magnitskiy family, that the very essence of this story is untrue. They find that there was credible evidence that Magnitskiy was indeed engaged in tax fraud, in conspiracy with Browder, and he was rightfully charged. The ECHR also found there was credible evidence that Magnitskiy was indeed a flight risk so he was rightfully detained. And most crucially of all, they find that there was credible evidence of tax fraud by Magnitskiy and action by the authorities “years” before he started to make counter-accusations of corruption against officials investigating his case.

This judgement utterly explodes the accepted narrative, and does it very succinctly:

The applicants argued that Mr Magnitskiy’s arrest had not been based on a reasonable suspicion of a
crime and that the authorities had lacked impartiality as they had actually wanted to force him to
retract his allegations of corruption by State officials. The Government argued that there had been
ample evidence of tax evasion and that Mr Magnitskiy had been a flight risk.
The Court reiterated the general principles on arbitrary detention, which could arise if the
authorities had complied with the letter of the law but had acted with bad faith or deception. It
found no such elements in this case: the enquiry into alleged tax evasion which had led to
Mr Magnitskiy’s arrest had begun long before he had complained of fraud by officials. The decision
to arrest him had only been made after investigators had learned that he had previously applied for
a UK visa, had booked tickets to Kyiv, and had not been residing at his registered address.
Furthermore, the evidence against him, including witness testimony, had been enough to satisfy an
objective observer that he might have committed the offence in question. The list of reasons given
by the domestic court to justify his subsequent detention had been specific and sufficiently detailed.
The Court thus rejected the applicants’ complaint about Mr Magnitskiy’s arrest and subsequent
detention as being manifestly ill-founded.

“Manifestly ill founded”. The mainstream media ran reams of reporting about the Magnitskiy case at the time of the passing of the Magnitskiy Act. I am offering a bottle of Lagavulin to anybody who can find me an honest and fair MSM report of this judgement reflecting that the whole story was built on lies.

Magnitskiy did not uncover corruption then get arrested on false charges of tax evasion. He was arrested on credible charges of tax evasion, and subsequently started alleging corruption. That does not mean his accusations were unfounded. It does however cast his arrest in a very different light.

Where the Court did find in favour of Magnitskiy’s family is that he had been deprived of sufficient medical attention and subject to brutality while in jail. I have no doubt this is true. Conditions in Russian jails are a disgrace, as is the entire Russian criminal justice system. There are few fair trials and conviction rates remain well over 90% – the judges assume that if you are being prosecuted, the state wants you locked up, and they comply. This is one of many areas where the Putin era will be seen in retrospect as lacking in meaningful and needed domestic reform. Sadly what happened to Magnitskiy on remand was not special mistreatment. It is what happens in Russian prisons. The Court also found Magnitskiy’s subsequent conviction for tax evasion was unsafe, but only on the (excellent) grounds that it was wrong to convict him posthumously.

The first use of the Magnitsky Act was to sanction those subject to Browder’s vendetta in his attempts to regain control of vast fortunes in Russian assets. But you may be surprised to hear I do not object to the legislation, which in principle is a good thing – although the chances of Western governments bringing sanctions to bear on the worst human rights abusers are of course minimal. Do not expect it to be used against Saudi Arabia, Bahrain or Israel any time soon.


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181 thoughts on “The Magnitskiy Myth Exploded

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  • Jane

    There is a documentary about the whole affair entitled “The Magnitskiy Act – Behind the Scenes” which has never been put on general release so hardly anyone has seen it, though according to Wikipedia, it did receive an award at a film festival in Thailand!

  • Reliably

    Magnitsky was an auditor/accountant. Hermitage was involved in money laundering and funneling funds to support/create political activity in places like Ukraine.

    Browder is repeatedly propped up by the US as some kind of hero, a human rights crusader or person with integrity, which is odd given that he gave up his US citizenship some time ago. One wonders if this is is role as an asset of MI6?

  • Arwyn

    Browder’s grandfather was Earl Browder, General Secretary of the Communist Party of the USA. That’s where the family connection with the Soviet Union stems from. That was in the days when the CPUSA could organise rallies of thousands in the major US cities. The crowds sang “Browder is our leader we shall not be moved”. What a disgrace Bill turned out to be to the family name.

    • Deepgreenpuddock

      Was that around the time ‘Armand Hammer”(=arm and hammer (slogan-of CPUSA) and later of occidental Petroleum, was doing deals with Stalin where works of art were liberated from the Hermitage in exchange for large quantities of cash.

    • Phil Espin

      Yes, but an extremely rich disgrace through chicanery in Russian “investments”. Seems to be all that counts to the media these days. Browder could be a highly placed intelligence asset, he could be a member of an international cartel, or just a crook, who knows. The simple fact is that as the documentary that is accessible online and now the European Court proves, he has been an extremely effective liar and propagandist against Russia. He has taken in politicians on both sides of the Atlantic.

      • bevin

        Taking in politicians, on either side of the Atlantic, with anti Russian propaganda is not difficult.

      • Paul Barbara

        @ Phil Espin September 16, 2019 at 16:32
        Hmmn, I wonder if Porton Down has any Novichocks left?

    • Njegos

      It’s a nice fairy tale. Browder is a crook and has been exposed as such by documentary maker Andrei Nekrasov. And if you watch the Prevezon depositions, you’ll see his narrative crumble before your eyes.

      • M.J.

        A wiki website on Nekrasov indicates that Browder would say that Nekrasov’s film was promoted by Russian nationalists, and is therefore unreliable.

        • Njegos

          Yes. That is exactly what BB would say because Nekrasov exposed Browder’s web of deceipt. But don’t take my word for it. Watch the film for yourself. There is no Russian nationalist agenda. My favourite moment is when Nekrasov presents Browder with proof that Magnitsky never blew the whistle on the fraud committed against the Russian tax authorities.

  • Vinnie Pooh

    I really despair on the information gulf that exists between people. That Magnitsky was a fraudster is crystal clear to anyone who is a) Russian b) took at least a cursory look at the affair. The same is true about Browder. However, it is almost impossible to convey this simple fact to anyone who a) doesn’t have command over Russian language b) read about this issue only in newspapers. Ah, well, just a venting frustration…

    As for Magnitsky exposing corruption – he actually did, Craig, the problem is he was exposing corruption of people who provided him krysha for his tax evasion deals. So it’s kinda a chicken and egg situation – was he put in jail because he was exposing corruption, or because of tax evasion. The right answer is actually “both”.

      • pete

        Yes, I can endorse this view of Tucker and Dale, it is a very funny film, despite all the grotesque bits.

        The Magnitsky Act is another fraud on the American people, before Brexit I would not have dreamed that a mass of people would be so gullible, how stupid am I?

        • Tatyana

          Actually the Tucker and Dale feeling is for Skripal affair.
          Magnitsky case is made better and there are evident faults of russian state in the case. I feel more like I’m on Eurotrip and cannot correctly spell the Flugegeheimen word 🙂

  • Sharp Ears

    LBC (James O’Brien) gave Browder airtime in February.
    UK Political Process Is Polluted By Dirty Russian Money … – LBC
    14 Feb 2019 – Bill Browder has been campaigning for the introduction of the Magnitsky Act around the world, which stops corrupt people bringing their …

    and a video ‘Putin Wants To Have Me Killed: Bill Browder is included at the bottom of that link. › radio › vladimir-putin-wants-me-killed-bill-browder
    31 May 2018 – This is the remarkable story of Bill Browder, the man who has been dubbed “Vladimir Putin’s number one enemy”. Mr Browder, a financier turned anti-corruption campaigner, was held by Spanish police yesterday on a Russian arrest warrant before being released after a couple of hours.

      • Ffrank

        Edmond Safra, one of the co-founders of Bill Browder’s Hermitage Capital fund, was a long time friend of Robert Maxwell (according to the book “The Assassination of Robert Maxwell – Israel’s Superspy” by Gordon Thomas & Martin Dilon

        • Yonatan

          Safra met an inexplicable end in a fire in 1998. Boris Berezovsky died ‘suicide by hanging’ (ring any bells?) in 2013. He was reportedly thinking of returning to Russia (just like Skripal?)

          “The circumstances surrounding the deaths of Safra in 1998, Magnitsky in 2011 and Berezovsky in 2013 seem to have quite a bit in common: before both Safra and Berezovsky died, they had been preparing to take steps to reveal some valuable information – in Berezovsky’s case, to reveal valuable information to the Russian government and President Vladimir Putin.”

          • Cap'n Klonk

            Jen, Yes, by hanging. He was slumped in a half-sitting position outside a bathroom cupboard, hanging from the doorknob.

            This kind of suicide is now a favourite by MI operatives and others. To see how it is done, watch S’Angelo’s murder in the prison library in the Wire, season 2.

  • Brendan

    Not surprisingly, the court ruling was distorted by Westen media to make it appear purely as a victory by Magnitsky’s family and associates against the Russian state. No mention of the fact that the narrative we’ve been told for more than a decade is just a big lie.

    It is true that the court found Russia guilty of a number of offences, but the most serious one was not even disputed by Russia, so it’s no great revelation. The court found that Magnitsky’s death was caused by his inhumane treatment, but this was admitted many years ago by the then Russian President Dmitry Medvedev:

    “A person has died, and it appears that there were crimes that led to that outcome,” Mr Medvedev said in remarks posted on the Kremlin website after meeting with the rights body.

    “Magnitsky’s case is a very sad one,” he said. “Ailing people shouldn’t die in prison. If they fall ill, they must be taken out for treatment before a court decides their fate.”

  • mark golding

    “Why is the U.S. mainstream media so frightened of a documentary that debunks the beloved story of how “lawyer” Sergei Magnitsky uncovered massive Russian government corruption and died as a result? If the documentary is as flawed as its critics claim, why won’t they let it be shown to the American public, then lay out its supposed errors, and use it as a case study of how such fakery works? ”

    • craig Post author

      Yes there is much that reminds me of Julian’s treatment in this but as Magnitskiy died I didn’t want to tempt fate…

        • John2o2o

          Browder claimed that Magnitsky was beaten up in jail. Andrei Nekrasov, commissioned by Browder to make a film about Magnitsky changed his mind when he was unable to replicate for the film the scenes of violence that Browder had described and decided instead to investigate Browder.

          Magnitsky was in jail for a reason. These attempts to paint him as a helpless victim are designed to deflect attention away from Magnitsky and Browder.

          Browder came across very badly in interviews in the film. He was shifty and evasive. He didn’t strike me as an honest man at all. Nekrasov exposed him for what he was, and for that reason Browder has sought to have the film banned.

  • John2o2o

    “The myth is that Magnitskiy was an honest rights campaigner and accountant who discovered corruption by Russian officials and threatened to expose it, and was consequently imprisoned on false charges and then tortured and killed.”

    – As another commenter has already said, Browder has always claimed that Magnitsky was his lawyer. However Magnitsky was in fact an accountant.

    The film “The Magnitsky Act – Behind the Scenes” is brilliant and definitely worth watching. Browder is seen squirming and looking shifty throughout the film.

    Andrei Nekrasov was commissioned by Browder to make a film which Browder intended to use to promote his false story. Nekrasov became suspicious when he tried to replicate some of the violence that Browder had alleged Magnitsky had been subjected to in prison and found that it was impossible. He realised that what Browder was claiming could not have happened.

    Nekrasov then turned the tables on Browder and began to investigate him instead.

    It may still be possible to view here for a fee:

  • ADKC

    “The first use of the Magnitsky Act was to sanction those subject to Browder’s vendetta in his attempts to regain control of vast fortunes in Russian assets. But you may be surprised to hear I do not object to the legislation, which in principle is a good thing…”

    I despair!

    The Magnitsky Act is nothing more than fake legal cover for the US to sanction any country is doesn’t like (including softening the target country up before you destroy it). The Magnisky Act is just cover for might is right.

    The only entity that could be argued to have a “legitimate” right to impose such sanctions is the United Nations. When one country imposes sanctions on another it is a prelude to war. This seems alright with Craig? I’m afraid that Craig’s anti-Russian bias shows through in a report that really should be about the hypocrisy of the west.

    As for Magnitsky; there is a belief that he was cooperating with the investigation (or about to) and that it was Browder who arranged his death. But let’s just sanction Russia for the hell of it!

    Oh, and the US are building up a set up faked legal cases that frame Iran for the 9/11 and compensation demands (and theft of Iranian assets) so I’m sure that Craig will be okay with that prelude to war as well?

    • N_

      If we talk about the imposition of US government sanctions against country after country, we must keep Venezuela in mind, and this is not hypothetical but going on now. As a direct result of US sanctions

      * a fifth of the population have fled the country
      * hyperinflation has added on eight zeros to the currency
      * even those who are just about surviving in reasonable jobs get paid in bolivars but have to buy things using US dollars
      * there are frequent power cuts, even in one of the most oil-rich countries in the world
      * it’s very expensive in bribes if you want to get a passport, or a passport renewal

  • John Gilberts

    Canadian breaking news involves a high level RCMP intelligence official, Cameron Jay Ortis, who oversaw investigations relating to the Magnitsky case in Canada, recently arrested for allegedly disclosing classified information to an ‘unspecified foreign entity’. Perhaps it’s related. In fact, Canada’s present foreign minister, the hawkish Russophobe, Chrystia Freeland and former Canadian Justice Minister, Irwin Cotler, a prominent Zionist ‘fixer’ who helped arrange the White Helmets extraction by Israel and subsequent transfer to Canada, were both involved in pushing a successful campaign for Canada’s own version of the Magnitsky Act, called the ‘Justice For Victims of Corrupt Foreign Officials Act, which passed unanimously in 2017. So CM’s column with the news of this judgment in the European Court is most interesting. Here’s hoping the odious fraudster Bill Browder may also soon be brought to book.

      • Arby

        Sure. She’s just a fascist with a great fascist pedigree. However, Most of the remaining Canadian political class (all parties) is simply fascist by choice.

  • buttley

    Here is a wonderful clip of Browder getting served a subpoena, he body checks a woman out of the way, crawls through a vehicle and out the other side, then runs off down the street, such is his desperation to avoid it. Lol.

    Then there is the deposition tapes, it is a lengthy watch, six odd hours worth, but his bullshit is brutally and methodically exposed.

    Part 1
    Part 2
    Part 3
    Part 4
    Part 5
    Part 6


    • duplicitousdemocracy

      A description of these clips would struggle to entice anyone to watch them but they are strangely riveting. The investigator questioning Browder shows him absolutely no respect and has the interviewee floundering numerous times.

    • Njegos

      Thank you for this. I have been very active on Twitter over the past year encouraging people to watch the Prevezon depositions. Mark Cymrot systematically dismantles Browder’s lies. Yet the shitty MSM continues to push the Magnitsky Myth.

  • Ian

    Browder is a complete and utter fraud, as anyone watching the documentary will quickly find out. Of course he goes to great lengths to suppress it, but it keeps popping up on sites he cannot control. What is worse is the ease with which a charlatan like him can get a platform in the credulous media and various governments to push his rightwing agenda. Making himself out to be a hero is gross and grand larceny.

    • SA

      Browder is front man much as Bellingcat, Christopher Steele, SOHR, Charles lister and many others. The media and the establishment are behind them all.

  • Ffrank

    Bill Browder was listed as a member of the ‘UK General – Inner Core – Russia’ cluster in the ‘Integrity Initiative’ documents

  • Adrian, J'Accuse News

    Indeed, the ECHR report finds reasonable grounds for authorities to suspect Magnitsky of tax evasion, that he’s an accountant (not a lawyer as the myth version has it), that Magnitsky was under investigation for financial crimes long before the arrest (contrary to the fictional version told by Bill Browder et al), etc.

    But when it comes to the legal prosecution and disposition+ the ECHR report is missing the facts – which can be found in the US court docket of SDNY’s “Prevezon” case – use Pacer, Docket Alarm (–13-cv-06326/United_States_of_America_v._Prevezon_Holdings_Ltd._et_al/) or whatever service you like – to find these public records.

    Sergei Magnitsky was never convicted – not in his lifetime, not post-humously. Browder was convicted (firstly on July 11, 2013) for financial crimes (perpetrated in the late 1990s/early 2000s) – involving exploitation of disabled people in Kalmykia by Hermitage co.s Saturn Investments LLC & Dalnaya Steppe LLC which were laundering funds from Cyprus shells of Hermitage and its trustee HSBC. It’s all on the public record (and summarized @

    eg. from the court docket of Case 1:13-cv-06326 | New York Southern District Court (fully accessible via DocketAlarm, Pacer etc.):

    “After civil tax judgments were rendered against his companies in 2003 and 2005, Browder recounted in his deposition that Hermitage dissipated the assets of at least one of the companies, transferred the company’s ownership to Browder’s ‘security’ contractor (Yakir Daniel Sha’ashoua), and had the contractor bankrupt the company, leaving the tax authorities as its only creditor. See id. at 82:15-90:25. These events occurred years before Magnitsky was even arrested.

    Saturn Investments: In 2003, a civil judgment was entered against Saturn Investments for claiming tax deductions for disabled persons falsely represented to be analysts who were “worker(s),” “machine engineer(s),” and another with “no education or qualifications” that “had nothing to do with Saturn and were only used… to get the income tax relief.” Browder signed the false returns. Browder Dep. 68:17-72:25, 78:18-79:4. This decision was upheld on appeal, but Browder claims he does not know whether Hermitage paid the taxes. Id. at 72:3-25, 78:18-79:4.

    Dalnaya Step: Even more egregious was Browder’s conduct with respect to Dalnaya Step. A court in December 2005 found that Dalnaya Step had a 551 million ruble- approximately $20 million – tax liability. Browder Dep. at 81:9-82:9. Browder transferred Dalnaya Step to his security contractor, whose company put Dalnaya Step into bankruptcy with one creditor: the Russian tax service. Id. at 82:14-90:25. Hermitage had removed the income of Dalnaya Step from Russia without paying the taxes due. Browder testified he did not know how the income was removed from Russia. See id. at 74:13-22, 98:18-99:12.

    Browder was convicted, in part, for filing false tax returns on behalf of Saturn and Dalnaya Step. In re Subpoena to Hermitage Global, 1:14-mc-00551-ESH-AK (D.D.C.), Dkt. 4-15 at 5.”

    After being protege of two of the world’s biggest crooks, Robert Maxwell and Edmond Safra, Bill Browder left the milieu of North American stock swindles in the mid-1990s – sent by Safra and diamonds/arms dealer Beny Steinmetz to front an operation in Moscow. In the post-Soviet years, carpetbaggers plundered the economy – Browder and co’s Hermitage Capital, in this era, reportedly engaged in asset stripping, illegal share purchases, transfer-payment scams, money laundering, and giant scale tax-fraud and evasion.

    An accountant fresh out of school, Sergei Magnitsky, working with Hermitage since 1996 (via Firestone Duncan) – executed frauds that used disabled war vets and people with mental disabilities as props in Kalmykia/Cyprus shell scams. When Browder and Magnitsky+ were caught – Browder was already barred from entering Russia. Magnitsky was arrested – Hermitage failed to pay the taxes it owed – and, tragically, Magnitsky died in prison.

    Magnitsky’s death is a tool in the propaganda campaign of Browder’s team – they’ve exploited human tragedy to cook up a myth that he was a crusading lawyer they hired in 2007 to uncover a government tax rebate scam. (The truth being, of course, Magnitsky was a bent auditor already engaged in 10 years of frauds+ with Browder et al by then.)

    Thanks to the press failure to do its due diligence and/or to tell truth – the myth has grown, and it’s now a geopolitical tool of state actors (an “information war” waged in Canada, for example, by former federal AG Irwin Cotler, and in the US by US State Dept. lobbyist+ Jonathan Winer + numerous other players from western countries).

    Recipient of the Gerald Loeb Award, (America’s top recognition for financial journalism), investigative journalist Lucy Komisar, on the front-lines of truth-telling since 1960s Mississippi, has published analyses of the recent ECHR report. You can Google, Bing etc. and find its title: “European Court of Human Rights says Russians right to arrest Magnitsky for tax evasion, but claims w/no evidence violent death”. Therein you’ll find ample evidence and links to source documents re the financial crimes as well as the medical issues. It’s a matter about which the more is known the better:

  • walid addas

    Whether Magnitsky was innocent of a Tax evader, the question remains ,Why and how did he die in Prison?

      • Adrian, J'Accuse News

        Another factor – Hermitage failed to pay the taxes they owed – leaving Sergei Magnitsky in jail. In his lifetime, career conman Browder hardly knew his young accountant, and gave him little support or mention. Upon his tragic death, Magnitsky was transformed by mythology into Browder’s friend and hero. Exploitation of Magnitsky and his family ranks among the most dastardly of Hermitage crimes.

  • Sven Lystbak

    ‘Conditions in Russian jails are a disgrace, as is the entire Russian criminal justice system. There are few fair trials and conviction rates remain well over 90% – the judges assume that if you are being prosecuted, the state wants you locked up, and they comply.’

    This may or may not be true but it is a fact that the Russian prison population has been cut in half from 1.060.000 in the year 2000 to 540.000 as of to day and that only 18 per cent are held in pre trial detention which is a very respectable figure. The incarceration rate has also been cut in half from 729 in 2000 to 373 to day.

    As the capacity of the prison system is 815.000 as of 2015 the problem with crowding should have been mitigated.
    All figures are from World Prison Brief.

    • Kempe

      The Magnitskiy case however suggests that innocent people (he’d not been convicted of any crime) are still being tortured to death in Russian prisons. This is the real story here, in particular we need to know if this was state sanctioned.

      In case you’d forgotten Russia signed and ratified the ECHR.

      • Coiseam

        He was not tortured. He died of a pre-existing medical condition due to not receiving the appropriate care in prison. Criminal negligence, definitely. But certainly not unheard of in most places, including the US and UK.

        • Kempe

          He was denied treatment for his medical condition and the ECHR agreed that he’d been restrained and beaten. Sounds like torture to me.

          • John2o2o

            I do not agree. Andrei Nekrasov tried to replicate in his film the scenes of violence that Browder described and was unable to do so. The ECHR is subject to the same failings as any other public body. It is not infallible and I think may in this case be subject to the influence of Western power.

            I am not saying that Magnitsky was treated well, just that false claims have been made about his treatment in prison in order to paint him as a victim.

            The focus on Magnitsky’s treatment in prison is an attempt to deflect attention away from why he was in prison in the first place. Browder is in my opinion a dishonest man.

          • John2o2o

            I should clarify what I have said here. I withdraw my comment:

            “I think may in this case be subject to the influence of Western power.”

            The ECHR can nevertheless only pass judgment on what it is told. It’s judgments depend upon what evidence it is given. Any court can make the wrong conclusion based on faulty evidence. In this case I believe that the evidence it was given was faulty.

            Which is not to defend Magnitsky’s treatment in prison. Browder is intent on making Magnistsky out to be a victim of state violence. I challenge that claim.

        • Adrian, J'Accuse News

          Investigative journalist Lucy Komisar, (recipient of the Gerald Loeb Award, America’s top recognition for financial journalism), has published analyses that’s most accurate on this case. It’s welcome to see the ECHR actually do some due diligence on certain aspects of the matter. A previous report from the Council of Europe was determined to be biased and not trustworthy by US Federal Justice Pauley who rejected its submission. Still, on numerous points, it’s evident ECHR still relied on first, second, and third-hand falsities crafted by the Hermitage team. See: “European Court of Human Rights says Russians right to arrest Magnitsky for tax evasion, but claims w/no evidence violent death”. Therein you’ll find ample evidence and links to source documents re the financial crimes as well as the medical issues:

          • John2o2o

            “Still, on numerous points, it’s evident ECHR still relied on first, second, and third-hand falsities crafted by the Hermitage team.”

            – Exactly Adrian. And Hermitage is Browder’s investment fund.

  • Brendan

    Director of ‘Magnitsky Act – Behind The Scenes’, Andrei Nekrasov changed his mind after investigating the case.
    So did the Cyprus journalist Elias Hazou, as he says in a very good summary of the real story:

    “In my first article, I wrote: “Magnitsky, a 37-year-old Russian accountant, died in jail in 2009 after he exposed huge tax embezzlement…”

    False. Contrary to the above story that has been rehashed countless times, Magnitsky did not expose any tax fraud, did not blow the whistle.

    The interrogation reports show that Magnitsky had in fact been summoned by Russian authorities as a witness to an already ongoing investigation into Hermitage. Nor he did he accuse Russian investigators Karpov and/or Kuznetsov of committing the $230 million treasury fraud, as Browder claims.

    Magnitsky did not disclose the theft. He first mentioned it in testimony in October 2008. But it had already been reported in the New York Times on July 24, 2008.

    In reality, the whistleblower was a certain Rimma Starova. She worked for one of the implicated shell companies and, having read in the papers that authorities were investigating, went to police to give testimony in April 2008 – six months before Magnitsky spoke of the scam for the first time
    Not only that, but in his depositions – the first one dating to 2006, well before Hermitage’s offices were raided – Magnitsky did not accuse any police officers of being part of the ‘theft’ of Browder’s companies and the subsequent alleged $230m tax rebate fraud.”

    • John2o2o

      “Not entirely true. In 2011, Magnitsky was described by Hermitage Capital as a lawyer for the company.”

      But Yonatan, it is my understanding that this description is false and that Magnitsky was an accountant.

      • Tatyana

        Perhaps it is misunderstanding of the translation. Magnitsky was an auditor, in Russia it is an expert in bookkeeping, who checks the accounting documents and gives his report on their reliability.

        • John2o2o

          Ah, thank you, Tatyana. Actually in the UK accountants and auditors are the same thing. (I used to be one !)

          I’m a “Jack of all trades” me! 🙂

        • John2o2o

          To clarify, in the UK auditors are either Chartered Accountants or Chartered Certified Accountants. They are the only people permitted to examine and report on the reliability of accounting documents in the UK. Chartered Accountants have regulatory bodies for England and Wales the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW) and separately in Scotland the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland (ICAS).

          Chartered accountants generally train to work as auditors for large accounting firms. Auditing is probably the core activity of most young accountants here. Obviously some later go on to work as company accountants and prepare annual financial statements for audit. All companies of any size in the UK have to have their financial statements audited by law.

          Most people think that the auditors are trying to discover fraud, but this is not their function. They are required simply to state that they have examined the records and consider that the financial statements represent a “true and fair” view in accordance with applicable accounting standards.

          • Adrian, J'Accuse News

            In 1993 Sergei Magnitsky graduated from the Plekhanov Russian University of Economics “specializing in finance and credit”. He subsequently worked in Moscow at Firestone Duncan, a firm offering tax and legal services. Through FD Magnitsky had the misfortune of working with/for Bill Browder and Hermitage. Employment and court records document that from 1995 onward Magnitsky was employed as an accountant and auditor, (he was certified as a qualified auditor in 1998), up until his arrest – in connection with Hermitage-related tax evasion schemes – in 2008.

      • Yonatan

        John2o2o, a erroneous statement in a legal context is not a myth. The Greek Gods were mythological, the publicly stated status of Magnitsky is not. He was stated to be a lawyer while he was actually an accountant/auditor. There is no myth there.

  • Sharp Ears

    There is never any show without Blair. This from 2006.

    ‘Blair to lobby Putin on fund manager
    Sat 8 Jul 2006

    Tony Blair will personally lobby his Moscow counterpart Vladimir Putin this week on behalf of William Browder, the high-profile fund manager denied entry to Russia.

    The Prime Minister will use the G8 summit in St Petersburg next weekend to ask Russia’s president to lift all restrictions on Browder, who runs Hermitage Capital Management, the biggest single vehicle for western investment in Russia.

    Browder, an American-born British citizen, has been barred from entering Russia since November, and has been forced to run his $4.1 billion fund from London, with a team of 15 analysts in Moscow researching companies.’


  • Hatuey

    At last a subject I know nothing about.

    If any of you are expecting me to do 3 minutes research and then pretend I know what I’m talking about, forget it. I’m just gonna mingle…

      • Hatuey

        I know, Brian… problem is my brain is full to capacity. Information overload. That’s why I love golf. You need something stupid like that in your life…

    • Martinned

      That’s an even more creative summary of the case than Craig’s. Let me quote the operative part of the judgment:

      The Court, unanimously,
      4. Holds that there has been a violation of Article 3 of the Convention on account of the conditions of Mr Magnitskiy’s detention;
      5. Holds that there has been a violation of Article 5 § 3 of the Convention;
      6. Holds that there has been a violation of Article 3 of the Convention on account of Mr Magnitskiy’s ill-treatment by the prison guards and the lack of an effective investigation in that regard;
      7. Holds that there has been a violation of Article 2 of the Convention on account of the authorities’ failure to protect Mr Magnitskiy’s right to life and ensure an effective investigation into the circumstances of his death;
      8. Holds that there has been a violation of Article 6 § 1 of the Convention;
      9. Holds that there has been a violation of Article 6 § 2 of the Convention;

      Note that even the Russian judge, judge Dedov, signed off on this holding…

      • John2o2o

        This assumes that the evidence that was presented before the court is genuine. I challenge the validity of that evidence.

        There’s a lot riding on this. US “Magnitsky Act” sanctions against Russia are based upon this.

        The USA does not like to be proven wrong. It’s hard to stand up to it’s power.

  • Aloha

    So I’m 1 hr and 18 minutes into this fascinating document by Nekrasov and my internet connection shuts down. I get it all going again but it still stops a little after the 1hr 18 min and zips to the end. Does anyone else have this problem?
    Thank for the link Tommy

  • giyane

    This sorry tale reminds me of The Kurdish CIA operatives like Mullah Krekar and other Islamist Western assets I know who are deeply involved in the Islamic State Oil scam.

    I accused my friend of being a liar and he replied that he was much, much higher than me.. “oh I wondered where the stink was coming from ” was my immediate thought.

    Anyone who sucks the CIA’s cockhas got to be seriously despised.

  • Alasdair Macdonald

    This proves why Brexit was about removing the ECHR from having an influence over matters in the UK – it dispenses justice! What the City wants from the law is the green light for money laundering.

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