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Interpol rejects arrest warrant for dead Russian lawyer’s boss

International police agency Interpol has rejected a Russian request to issue an international arrest warrant for the former employer of late lawyer Sergei Magnitsky, saying the case is of “political nature”.

Magnitsky died in prison in 2009 after revealing a massive fraud scheme. At the time he blew the whistle he was working for US-born British citizen William Browder, the biggest foreign investor in Russia in the past decade, who has now become a target for Russian authorities.

In a statement issued on Friday, Interpol said it had “deleted all information in relation to William Browder following a recommendation by the independent Commission for the Control of Interpol’s Files (CCF)”.

After studying the case, it said the CCF had concluded it “was of a predominantly political nature and recommended that all information be deleted from Interpol’s databases”.

Browder is the founder of the Hermitage Capital hedge fund where Magnitsky worked when he went public with details of massive fraud by state officials. Shortly afterwards Magnitsky himself was charged with tax evasion.

Magnitsky died in detention after having spent 11 months on remand in squalid prisons and is currently on a controversial posthumous trial.

Browder is also being tried in absentia for tax evasion.

Last month, a Moscow court issued an international arrest warrant for Browder on accusations that he had illegally acquired stock in energy giant Gazprom.

He actively campaigned for the United States to adopt a law placing sanctions on Russian officials deemed to have been implicated in Magnitsky’s death. The law was passed last year, triggering a diplomatic row with Moscow which then answered by banning US adoptions of Russian children.