West is biased on Browder case - United Russia member

Alexander Khinshtein, a member of the United Russia General Council and deputy head of the State Duma committee on security and corruption prevention, believes the West will be biased on the activities of William Browder, the head of the company Hermitage Capital, in Russia.

"I am convinced that the West will not approach the Browder-Magnitsky case objectively, within the framework of criminal law, but will adopt a purely political approach to it. All developments currently indicate just that," Khinshtein told a press conference in the Interfax central office on Monday.

"I strongly doubt that the West will actively support the Russian justice system in determining the truth in this case. I assume with a high degree of probability that the West will politicize this situation. Naturally, we shouldn't expect Mr. Browder to be extradited, even if the Russian authorities demand his extradition," he said.

Khinshtein believes there are certain problems with forwarding the case, considering that one of the potential defendants is dead.

"It is perfectly obvious that it is very difficult to send the case to the court from a formal point of view because one potential defendant [Sergei Magnitsky] is dead and the other one is hiding. Nevertheless, I don't see any big problems in a sentence in absentia. That requires the observance of certain procedures, including really informing Mr Browder of the completion of the investigative actions on him and the forwarding of the materials to court," the parliamentarian said.

If a sentence is handed out, it will be logical to expect the Russian authorities to demand Browder's extradition, he said.

"If he ignores the requirements of the Russian justice system after that, nothing prevents his case from being tried in absentia and a fair sentence from being handed out. If this sentence envisions specific punishment for Mr. Browder, it is clear that Russia will continue demanding his extradition and other measures envisioned by criminal law, including a restriction of entry in the countries that have appropriate treaties with the Russian Federation," Khinshtein said.

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