Destinations Magazine

The Lawyer and the Cellist

By Stizzard
The lawyer and the cellist Magnitsky won’t go away

SERGEI ROLDUGIN is a humble cellist who is also one of Vladimir Putin’s closest friends. This month the Panama papers, a mega-leak of documents from an offshore law firm, revealed that he owned shell companies through which hundreds of millions of dollars had sloshed. Now the Organised Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP), a journalists’ collective, claims to have uncovered a link between those companies and one of the biggest fraud cases in Russian history: the Magnitsky affair.

Sergei Magnitsky was a lawyer with Hermitage Capital Management, an investment firm. In 2007 he uncovered the theft of $ 230m from Russia’s treasury in a tax-refund scam. After accusing police of a cover-up, he was tossed in jail, where he died in 2009. The case became a cause célèbre, and America adopted a law barring entry to officials suspected of involvement in the lawyer’s death.

The OCCRP now says it has bank records showing that International Media Overseas, a firm owned by Mr Roldugin, received money in 2008 from another offshore company, called Delco, that it believes is linked to the…

The Economist: Europe

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