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HomeBusinessSwitzerland ends 10-year Russian money-laundering investigation

Switzerland ends 10-year Russian money-laundering investigation

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Lawyer Sergei Magnitsky ended a 10-year investigation into Russian money laundering and fraud scandal allegations, Swiss prosecutors said on Tuesday.

The investigation into anonymous persons focused on money laundering allegedly committed in Switzerland between 2008 and 2010.

Launched in 2011, the investigation was part of a report by the Hermitage Capital Management owned by William Browder, a temporary customer of Magnitsky.

Magnitsky caused controversy in 2008 after an organized crime group claimed that it had conspired with corrupt Russian Interior Ministry officials to claim a tax refund of $230 million through Hermitage’s illegally acquired subsidiaries.

The money was allegedly laundered in Russia first, then in other countries like Switzerland.

The Swiss attorney general’s office ordered the seizure of assets worth about 18 million francs ($19.6 million)

The investigation into the alleged money laundering included requests for assistance from Moldova, Lithuania, Russia, Cyprus, and the US, the attorney general’s office.

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Magnitsky died in prison in November 2009 after being arrested on tax evasion charges. A Human rights defender says he was denied medical care in prison.

“The investigation has not revealed any evidence that would justify charges being bought against anyone in Switzerland” the attorney general’s office stated.

However, it ordered the confiscation of more than 4 million francs as a link was established between some of the assets seized in Switzerland and criminal activity in Russia.

The office said Hermitage was originally recognized as a plaintiff, but that status has been revoked.

“It had not been possible to demonstrate that the funds under investigation in Switzerland originated from an offence committed to Hermitage’s detriment,” the official added.

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