Russian Interior Ministry investigator Oleg Silchenko, whose name is on the U.S. "Magnitsky list," has called the list "a form of reprisal" from William Browder, chief executive of British investment fund Hermitage Capital, "against officials who have been directly involved in exposing his criminal activities" in Russia.
"I believe that the passage by the U.S. Congress of the so-called 'Magnitsky list' and the subsequent approval of that legislative act by the president of the United States is an unfriendly act toward the Russian Federation, which violates all principles of international law and the fundamental principle of presumed innocence, which, by the way, is declared by the United States as well," Oleg Silchenko told reporters.
"It is a form of reprisal from William Browder, who has accused status in a criminal case, against officials who have been directly involved in exposing his criminal activities on the territory of the Russian Federation," he said.
"It will have no effect on my personal life because, first of all, I have no travel passport, and, secondly, I have no assets abroad, including in the United States," Silchenko said.
On March 5, the Russian Interior Ministry's Investigation Department announced that Browder was under new prosecution - entities set up by him were accused of theft of shares from Russian natural gas company Gazprom that inflicted damages of about 3 billion rubles on Russia.
The department claimed that the new action was unrelated to tax evasion proceedings against Hermitage, a current action where the accused are - in absentia - Browder and, posthumously, Sergei Magnitsky.
Hermitage confirmed that Browder bought Gazprom shares but claimed that the purchase was legal, and that the theft accusation against Browder was a retaliation to the U.S. "Magnitsky Act" - the Sergei Magnitsky Rule of Law Accountability Act.
On March 7, Browder was charged in absentia with large-scale fraud, and, on April 22, Moscow's Tverskoi Court approved an arrest warrant for him.
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