Tuesday

19th Oct 2021

Mystery death of Magnitsky informant causes fear

  • British police. The Magnitsky list names senior people in the FSB (Photo: nuakin)

The mysterious death of an informant in the Sergei Magnitsky case has created suspicion of a second high-profile Russian murder in the UK.

Alexander Perepilichnyy - a 44-year-old Russian businessman with no known health problems - was found dead outside his luxury home in Surrey, England on 10 November.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Become an expert on Europe

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

British police made the case public on Wednesday (28 November), telling press that an initial post mortem was "inconclusive," that the coroner will now hold an inquest, including toxicology tests, and that a senior officer has been assigned to find out what happened.

Perepilichnyy had sought refuge in the UK after giving evidence on Olga Stepanova, a senior Russian tax official, to a Swiss prosecutor.

Stepanova is one of 60 Russian officials on a US travel ban list.

The US imposed the sanctions due to credible allegations that she was part of a conspiracy in 2009 to embezzle hundreds of millions of euros of Russian tax money and to murder an accountant, Sergei Magnitsky, who exposed the scam.

Other names on the list include senior officials in Russia's state security service, the FSB.

For some, the death recalls the murder in London in 2006 of Russian FSB officer-turned-informant, Alexander Litvinenko, in a case which damaged British-Russian relations.

"There were no signs of a violent death. But there weren't any in connection with Litvinenko either," Russian anti-corruption blogger Alexey Navalny wrote.

Senior people in Hermitage Capital, Magnitsky's former employers, who have campaigned for US and EU sanctions on his killers, have in the past also received death threats.

For his part, EU Council chief Herman Van Rompuy has called the Magnitsky case "emblematic" of what is wrong with modern Russia.

But EU foreign ministries have been unwilling to impose US-type punitive measures so far.

Hermitage Capital has also filed cases with prosecutors in six EU countries - Austria, Cyprus, Estonia, Finland, Latvia and Lithuania - alleging that their banks were used to launder the embezzled funds.

The Cypriot prosecutor, for one, has rejected the case, however.

The Magnitsky Affair

EU Council chief Herman Van Rompuy has called the murder of Russian anti-corruption activist Sergei Magnitsky "emblematic" of all that is wrong in modern Russia.

Russia attacks EU on human rights record

Xenophobia, racism, and neo-Nazism are among a long list of human rights violations frequently committed in the EU, according to a report released by the Russian Federation on Thursday.

Feature

Italy on edge as neo-fascists stir violence

Neo-fascist groups are planning new protests in Rome after last weekend's riots, in a heady climate in which the pandemic and immigration have fuelled extremist feeling.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNew report reveals bad environmental habits
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersImproving the integration of young refugees
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersNATO Secretary General guest at the Session of the Nordic Council
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersCan you love whoever you want in care homes?
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersNineteen demands by Nordic young people to save biodiversity
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersSustainable public procurement is an effective way to achieve global goals

Latest News

  1. EU lags behind on 'military ambition'
  2. Let us help protect EU funds in Balkans, NGOs say
  3. Snubbed and hated: How Slovenia's Janša treated MEPs
  4. EU leaders meet This WEEK amid EU-Poland clash
  5. MEPs urge Sassoli to sue EU Commission on rule of law
  6. MEPs seek EU law on bogus anti-media litigation
  7. Africa seeks EU help on global vaccine-waiver
  8. Giant of 20th century European design recognised by EU

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us