Tuesday, 24 July 2012

The Sergei Magnitsky case - Russia protecting criminals

The Sergei Magnitsky case is proving to be highly damaging to Vladimir Putin and the mafia kleptocracy that he has created: 

Over the course of the last two years, investigators with Hermitage Capital have compiled highly detailed reports on the alleged theft of $800 million in Russian tax money and the cover-up murders of five people, including Hermitage lawyer Sergei Magnitsky. The most recent report drills down to the detail of showing receipts for vacations that alleged gang leaders and Russian government accomplices took together in Cyprus and Dubai.
Hermitage recently released a powerful 18-minute video that is now moving minds across the world. Posted on YouTube, it’s called: “The Magnitsky Files: Organized Crime Inside the Russian Government.”
At last count, about 20 parliaments, starting with the United States Congress and the British Parliament, are drawing up legislation to ban visas and freeze assets of suspects in the Magnitsky case.
Facing this international PR disaster, what is Russia doing?
It is painting the attack on about 44 suspected Russian criminals and corrupt government officials as an attack on Russia’s 144 million people.
It has assigned a deputy foreign minister, Sergei Ryabkov, to attack the U.S. Congress full time on the issue. In almost daily comments to the press, he has expressed the Russian government’s “outrage” at the “Magnitsky Act” under consideration in the U.S. Congress and has promised “a symmetrical response” if legislation is approved. Alexei Pushkov, chairman of the Duma’s International Affairs Committee has told Interfax: “We will certainly react to this and the American Administration will feel the consequences.”
It sent a delegation that included Dmitry Klyuyev, alleged ring leader of the criminal gang, to a meeting two weeks ago in Monaco where legislators from 56 Western and Eurasian nations debated adopting visa bans and asset freezes on the Russian gang members and government accomplices.
It sent to the United States Senate a delegation led by a Russian senator, Vitaly Malkin. A billionaire, Malkin has been denied visas to Canada and was cited by the Canadian government in court proceedings as “a member of a group engaging in organized or transnational crime.”
Moscow apparently believes the best defense is a strong offense.
But in Europe and the United States, legislators are finding the Russian offensive, well, offensive.
At the end of the Monaco meeting of the Organization for Security and Cooperation, 90 percent of the 320 parliamentarians present voted to call “on national parliaments to take action to impose visa sanctions and freezes on persons responsible for the false arrest, torture denial of medical care and death of Sergei Magnitsky.”
In Washington, Russia’s Senator Malkin alleged that Magnitsky was a drunk, out of shape, who probably fatally injured himself in jail. In response, Natalia Magnitskaya, mother of the dead lawyer, wrote an open letter to Malkin: “I believe that an attempt to slander the good name of my son posthumously looks shameful and not deserving of the honorable title of people’s representative.”
On Wednesday, a U.S. Senate committee voted unanimously in favor of the ‘Magnitsky Act” – the third American congressional committee to do so in six weeks. Passage of the bill is expected in coming months.
Clearly, the Kremlin is losing big time in the international court of opinion.
Read the entire article here
Wherever you look, Vladimir Putin, Russia´s capo di tutti capi, is defending fellow crooks both in his own mafia state and abroad. He may still be able to delay justice in cases involving the likes of Magnitsky and Assad,  but he is fighting a losing game. Before long Putin will share the same fate as all other criminal dictators ...

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