Widespread government corruption persists in Russian President Putin's term.
By H. Nelson Goodson
March 4, 2013
Mosco, Russia - On Monday, BBC reported that Russian Judge Igor Alison has set the first ever trial date for a dead defendant. The trial will begin on March 11, for the deceased whistleblower Attorney Sergei Magnitsky, 37, who accused high ranking Russian officials and police officers of a $230M widespread tax evasion and financial corruption scheme.
Magnitsky who represented the London-based Hermitage Capitol Management (HCM) was arrested on frivolous charges for organized crime steming from tax evasion by HCM. The charges were brought up by the same government officials he accused of corruption.
Magnitsky died in a Moscow prison on November 16, 2009 after enduring torture for months and a lack of medical treatment.
While working for HCM, Magnitsky uncovered widespread corruption by Russian government officials and police. He reported the organized government corruption by Russian officials to higher government authorities, but to keep him from testifying arrested him on frivolous charges.
Also on trial will be Magnitsky's boss, Bill Browder who leaves in London and will be on trial in absentia. Browder helped Magnitsky to uncover the corruption and tried to get him out of country, but Magnitsky wanted to stay in Russia.
Last December, President Barack H. Obama signed the Magnitsky Act, which denied Russian officials accused of corruption in the Magnitsky case to be denied U.S. Visas and froze any assets they had in the country. In return, Russian Vladimir Putin signed into law prohibiting Americans from adopting Russian orphans. Magnitsky's death including photos released showed he was severely tortured, but Putin says, Magnitsky died of natural causes.
Putin's lack of action to investigate Magnitsky's death indicates that widespread corruption continues in his term.
A previous documentary exposed many Russian officials leaving in luxury homes, compounds and driving expensive vehicles compared to their salaries as government officials.