Wednesday

20th Jun 2018

Russia threatens Ireland with adoption ban

  • Irish leader Enda Kenny (l) and Van Rompuy - two of Kenny's MPs got cold feet after the Russian letter (Photo: consilium.europa.eu)

Russia has threatened to impose a US-type adoption ban on EU presidency country Ireland if its MPs pass a tough resolution on the late anti-corruption activist Sergei Magnitsky.

Its ambassador in Dublin, Maxim Peshkov, made the threat in a letter to deputies on the Irish parliament's foreign affairs and trade committee dated 11 March and seen by EUobserver.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... our join as a group

Referring to the committee's draft resolution of 4 March, which urged the Irish EU presidency to push for an EU-level visa ban on Magnitsky's alleged tormentors, Peshkov said: "This approach … can have negative influence on the negotiation of the Adoption Agreement between Russia and Ireland being proceeded."

Magnitsky, a Russian accountant, died in pre-trial detention in prison in 2009 after exposing a scam by Russian officials to embezzle $230 million from the Russian treasury.

His former employer, UK-based investment fund Hermitage Capital, has amassed evidence that prison guards starved him of pancreatic medication and subjected him to a brutal beating in the final hours of his life.

Its case was strong enough for the US to impose sanctions on 18 Russian officials earlier this month.

Moscow reacted by banning US families from adopting Russian children.

Hermitage evidence has also prompted MEPs in Brussels and MPs in France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, Sweden and the UK to call for EU-level action. For his part, EU Council chief Herman Van Rompuy has called the case "emblematic" of the collapse of rule of law in Russia.

Peshkov's letter gave a different version of events.

He told the Irish MPs that Magnitsky was guilty of tax evasion and that he died of "cardiovascular insufficiency."

He also accused Hermitage chief Bill Browder, whose firm back in the day bought shares in Russian energy firm Gazprom, of a plot to "influence" the company, posing "a danger of [sic] national security of the Russian Federation."

Irish MPs will take a second look at the resolution next week.

But two committee members from the ruling centre-right Fine Gael party - Pat Breen and Bernard J. Durkan - got cold feet after Peshkov's threat.

Durkan on 17 April tabled amendments to the text taking out references to Magnitsky's mistreatment and to Irish or EU sanctions.

His text describes the death as "mysterious" and calls instead for "a full and final report into the circumstances of the case."

Breen told the Financial Times on Thursday (25 April) the adoption issue is "sensitive" in Ireland. Durkan told the Irish Times on Tuesday: "We all have to live together … you need to be cautious and you need to be in command of the facts."

For his part, Browder described Peshkov's threat as "a spectacular attack on Irish democracy."

The Irish MP who drew up the original resolution, Jim Walsh from the opposition Fianna Fail party, told the Financial Times: "It is very important that we uphold our traditional independence and commitment in the field of human rights."

Analysis

Trump befriends Conte, depresses EU

Most EU leaders found US president Donald Trump "depressing" at the G7, but one of them - Italy's Giuseppe Conte - made a new friend.

Opinion

Europe could lose out in North Korean bonanza

South Korean businesses including Hyundai and Samsung are already scoping investment opportunities. Will North Korea become a 'new Vietnam' opportunity - or more like Myanmar, where slow Brussels policy-making meant EU exporters lost out.

News in Brief

  1. PES to announce 'spitzenkandidat' names in October
  2. Macedonian parliament ratifies name deal
  3. EU to hit US with import duties from Friday
  4. Commission: New on-road CO2 test would take years
  5. Juncker orders migration 'mini-summit' on Sunday
  6. Luxembourg gave illegal state aid to energy firm
  7. Negotiators lower finger printing age of refugees to six
  8. EU to lift its internal data storage barriers

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Mission of China to the EUJointly Building Belt and Road Initiative Leads to a Better Future for All
  2. Macedonian Human Rights MovementMHRMI Launches Lawsuits Against Individuals and Countries Involved in Changing Macedonia's Name
  3. IPHRCivil society asks PACE to appoint Rapporteur to probe issue of political prisoners in Azerbaijan
  4. ACCASocial Mobility – How Can We Increase Opportunities Through Training and Education?
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersEnergy Solutions for a Greener Tomorrow
  6. UNICEFWhat Kind of Europe Do Children Want? Unicef & Eurochild Launch Survey on the Europe Kids Want
  7. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Countries Take a Stand for Climate-Smart Energy Solutions
  8. Mission of China to the EUChina: Work Together for a Better Globalisation
  9. Nordic Council of MinistersNordics Could Be First Carbon-Negative Region in World
  10. European Federation of Allergy and AirwaysLife Is Possible for Patients with Severe Asthma
  11. PKEE - Polish Energy AssociationCommon-Sense Approach Needed for EU Energy Reform
  12. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Region to Lead in Developing and Rolling Out 5G Network

Latest News

  1. How to get around the EU posted workers directive
  2. EU needs comprehensive 'sexuality education'
  3. Fate of EU refugee deal hangs in the balance
  4. Merkel, Macron in pre-summit pledge on migration, eurozone
  5. Hungary to push ahead with 'Stop Soros' law on NGOs
  6. Swedish party puts EU referendums back in fashion
  7. EU summit set to outsource asylum
  8. Dutch request to clarify Brexit Britons' rights annulled

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us