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Presidential Council Finds Corruption in Magnitsky Case

Source: (Info), 01/07/11

· Prisoners

A number of officials may have had a corrupt interest in the Magnitsky case. This is the conclusion arrived at by a working group set up by the Presidential Council on Civil Society and Human Rights, reports RIA News.

"We are talking about the corrupt relationships and the corrupt self-interest of a number of officials in the Magnitsky case. We are talking about the fact that there are conflicts within the law enforcement system when one department does not want to give an objective assessment of its own employees," said Kirill Kabanov, member of the Presidential Council and head of the National Anti-Corruption Committee.

According to Kabanov, the experts also have questions for the Federal Penitentiary Service. "The Federal Penitentiary Service also has questions to answer. The right legal decisions aimed at holding people accountable were not taken with regard to everybody," Kabanov added.

As reported by RIA News, at present the Presidential Council is preparing three interim conclusions: on the conduct of the investigation, on the Federal Penitentiary Service and on the judicial decision. "All three of these documents should be brought together into the one document,” Kabanov added. “We regard the actions of the investigators and the Investigative Committee positively. At the same time, in setting out our own views we do not want to influence how the case is being investigated. For the first time in years we have a good relationship with the law enforcement agencies," the Presidential Council member said. The Council is to present its findings into the Magnitsky case to the President on 5 July.

Meanwhile, the main points of the findings are not yet ready, according to the head of the Council, Mikhail Fedotov. He adds that the Council will finalize them over the coming weekend. According to the chair of the Moscow Helsinki Group, Ludmila Alekseeva, members of the working group will also appeal to Medvedev to transfer prison medical services, currently run by the Federal Penitentiary Service, to the Ministry of Public Health and Social Development, reports.

At the end of April, members of the Presidential Council on Human Rights published findings which said that the criminal case against Sergei Magnitsky had been "completely fabricated by officials from the Ministry of Internal Affairs and the Federal Security Service." The findings named the investigator Oleg Silchenko as one of those principally responsible for the death of Sergei Magnitsky.

Sergei Magnitsky died on 16 November 2009 while held in pre-trial detention. Shortly before his death he had discovered facts about the large-scale embezzlement of budgetary funds totalling 5.4 billion roubles by members of law enforcement agencies. Immediately after this he was charged with tax evasion.