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Russia's Shuvalov Responds To Investment Fund Head Over Lawyer Death

Memorial Flowers and Photograph of Sergei MagnitskyDavos, 27 January: Russia's First Deputy Prime Minister Igor Shuvalov called on the director-general of investment fund Hermitage Capital, Bill Browder, who during the forum in Davos raised the issue of the fund's lawyer Sergey Magnitskiy's death in the Russian Federation, to trust people in Russia.

"There have been unsuccessful attempts by investors to work in Russia. You mentioned that people have died. We know about this case very well," Shuvalov said. According to him, 20 people were dismissed immediately after Magnitskiy's death. "It was a high-profile case, the president was personally involved in this matter to try to find out the truth," Shuvalov noted. At the same time, he noted that the results of the criminal case are still unknown: "I do not know what the results are, when the criminal proceedings will be completed and the materials will be sent to court."

Igor ShuvalovShuvalov advised Browder to focus on the positive trends that exist in Russia. "You have to trust people with whom you work. There are different people in Russia, they work in different institutions and agencies: we have a prime minister and regional authorities (punctuation as received) We want to change Russia, but we cannot change it overnight. You'll have to admit that the country is changing for the better. We need to change," as Shuvalov put it.

"The rule of law is improving, it is not perfect but it is better," the first deputy premier thinks. He advised investors to look back at the beginning of 2000, when Vladimir Putin became president, and the situation today. "Huge work has been done," Shuvalov said.

During the forum in Davos, Bill Browder told Igor Shuvalov about his experiences in Russia. "I am a major investor. I invested 4.5 billion dollars in Russia. Faced with corruption, I complained - and as a result I was kicked out of the country, and my visa was revoked," the businessman recalled.

According to him, the police then "raided" the company's offices and "seized corporate documents". "One of our lawyers was arrested, tortured and killed. What is going on in Russia?" the head of Hermitage Capital asked Shuvalov.

Sergey Magnitskiy was head of the tax and audit department in the British firm Firestone Duncan, which provided legal services for the Hermitage Capital fund.

As reported, Magnitskiy died at the Matrosskaya Tishina remand centre on 16 November 2009. In connection with that, the Russian Federation Investigations Committee filed a criminal case under Article 124 of the Russian Federation Criminal Code (failure to administer aid to a patient) and Article 293 of the Russian Federation Criminal Code (negligence). However, the committee has not reported about any results of its investigations.

According to two forensic examinations, the cause of death of the fund's member of staff was acute heart failure. Experts confirmed the presence of diseases diagnosed in Mr Magnitskiy earlier, but stated that they were not in the acute stage.

Despite dismissals in the federal prison service, human rights activists believe that no real investigation into Magnitskiy's death has been conducted.

On 16 December, the European Parliament invited the EU Council to consider possible sanctions against Russian officials thought involved in Magnitskiy's death.

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Russia, Assassinations, Beatings, Prison Deaths - Russia, Law, Corruption, Crime - Russia, Economy, Business, Investment, Trade - Russia News - Russia - Johnson's Russia List

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