Press release - AP015(2014)

Magnitsky: PACE resolves to call for ‘targeted sanctions’ if no adequate response to its demands

Strasbourg, 28.01.2014 – The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) has said it will recommend that Council of Europe member states, as a last resort, follow the example of the US and adopt “targeted sanctions” against individuals involved in the death of Russian tax lawyer Sergei Magnitsky – such as visa bans and the freezing of accounts – if the competent authorities in Russia fail to respond adequately to its demands within a reasonable period of time.

Approving a resolution today on “Refusing impunity for the killers of Sergei Magnitsky”, based on a report by Andreas Gross (Switzerland, SOC), PACE urged the Russian authorities to fully investigate the circumstances and background of Mr Magnitsky’s death, and the possible criminal responsibility of all officials involved. The Assembly resolved to follow closely how its proposals are implemented.

In a separate recommendation, PACE called on Council of Europe governments to improve international co-operation in following “the money trail” of the funds originating in the fraudulent tax reimbursements denounced by Mr Magnitsky, and to ensure Russia’s full participation.

Approving the rapporteur’s detailed analysis of Mr Magnitsky’s death in pre-trial detention in Moscow in 2009, the parliamentarians said they were “appalled” by his death, and by the fact that none of the persons responsible have yet been punished.

Mr Magnitsky, who had carried out investigations into a “massive fraud against the Russian fiscal authorities”, spent almost a year in pre-trial detention in increasingly harsh conditions and in deteriorating health, and was beaten with rubber batons on the evening of his death, they said.

The parliamentarians also called for investigation into the procedure followed by the two tax offices involved in the fraud denounced by Mr Magnitsky “in approving reimbursements amounting to the equivalent of US 230 million, within 24 hours of the application”.

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