Russian involved in Magnitsky fraud case dies in UK: report

28th November 2012, Comments 0 comments

A Russian businessman who was helping uncover a major fraud linked to the death in prison of lawyer Sergei Magnitsky has died in unexplained circumstances in Britain, it was reported on Wednesday.

The Independent newspaper said Alexander Perepilichnyy, who had sought sanctuary in Britain three years ago, collapsed outside his mansion on a luxury private estate on the outskirts of Weybridge in Surrey, near London.

The paper claimed the 44-year-old was a key witness against a network of corrupt Russian officials and underworld figures implicated in a series of multimillion-pound tax frauds and the death of Magnitsky in custody in 2009.

A police statement said: "Surrey Police continues to treat the death of a man in his 40s who collapsed in Weybridge on Saturday, 10 November as unexplained.

"The death remains under investigation whilst officers await the results of the post mortem and toxicology tests. Surrey Police continues to work closely with the coroner's office whilst the investigation remains ongoing."

Magnitsky died in 2009 at the age of 37 from untreated medical conditions after being held in a notoriously squalid Russian prison during a fraud probe against his client, US investment firm Hermitage Capital.

Before he was detained, the lawyer claimed to have uncovered a scheme used by police officials to reclaim about $235 million in taxes paid by Hermitage Capital, once Russia's largest Western investment fund.

But instead officials charged Magnitsky with fraud and put him in jail.

© 2012 AFP

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