Russia clears investigator of fund lawyer's death
Russian prosecutors on Monday cleared a chief investigator whom rights groups believe was responsible for the death of a lawyer for what was the country's largest Western investment fund.
The Investigative Committee said it had received a letter from the prosecutor general's office saying its probe into the allegations had cleared interior ministry investigator Oleg Silchenko of involvement in any crimes.
The decision drew outrage from the Hermitage Capital investment fund and from the family of Sergei Magnitsky -- the 37-year-old lawyer who died in jail facing trial in 2009 on what his firm believes were fictitious charges.
Magnitsky claimed to have unravelled a scheme through which top Russian officials managed to reclaim some $200 million in taxes paid by Hermitage.
Prosecutors accused Magnitsky of committing the very crime he alleged to have uncovered. The firm has since moved its main office to London.
Magnitsky's death has been raised by visiting Western dignitaries during talks with top Russian officials and is seen as further evidence of why the country remains a strong investment risk.
© 2011 AFP