Russia Convicts a Dead Guy

Lawyer who died in police custody guilty of tax evasion

By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff

Posted Jul 11, 2013 7:42 AM CDT

(Newser) – The first dead man tried in Russia has been convicted of tax evasion in a move the Telegraph says will do further damage to Vladimir Putin. Sergei Magnitsky, a lawyer who died in police custody in 2009, testified before his arrest that state officials tried to claim $230 million in tax rebates through an investment company owned by his boss, William Browder. Browder, who was tried in absentia, was also found guilty of tax evasion and sentenced to nine years behind bars.

Supporters claim Magnitsky was framed and thrown in jail, where his death later sparked human rights concerns, reports Sky News. The Kremlin itself suggested Magnitsky—who died from pancreatitis at 37—was beaten to death, while Putin said it was heart failure. Though officials say the case was reopened in 2011 so Magnitsky's supporters could exonerate him, Browder isn't buying it. The trial showed Putin "is ready to sacrifice his international credibility to protect corrupt officials who murdered an innocent lawyer and stole $230 million from the Russian state," his company said, per the AP.

In this file photo, CEO of Hermitage Capital Management, William Browder gestures while speaking during a panel discussion 'The Russian Riddle' at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.   (Virginia Mayo)
Bailiffs stand near a cage in a courtroom in Moscow, Russia, Thursday, 11, 2013.   (Alexander Zemlianichenko)
In this Monday, Nov. 30, 2009, file photo a portrait of lawyer Sergei Magnitsky who died in jail, is held by his mother Nataliya Magnitskaya, as she speaks during an interview in Moscow.   (Alexander Zemlianichenko)
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