Moscow's Tverskoi Court will hand down a sentence in a tax evasion case against Hermitage Capital auditor Sergei Magnitsky, who died in a pretrial detention center in 2009, and Hermitage Capital co-founder and CEO William Browder on Thursday.
A prosecutor said at a previous hearing that the defendants' guilt had been fully proven by documents examined during the trial and witnesses' testimony. He asked the court to sentence Browder to nine years in prison. As for Magnitsky, the prosecutor proposed that a case against him be closed due to his death but insisted that he cannot be rehabilitated.
The prosecutor said, in particular, that Magnitsky, as an auditor, invented a scheme to evade taxes following Browder's instructions, and the latter was aware of the tax breaks the firm had been granted unlawfully and signed fake documents, he said.
Prosecutors considered unsubstantiated Magnitsky's and Browder's claims of their innocence. "William Browder only said briefly that he did not admit his guilt, and Sergei Magnitsky, in his extensive evidence, could not persuade the investigation that he was not involved in a crime. In his testimony, he only tried to make the impression that he was not responsible for a crime," the prosecutor said.
The Tverskoi Court is hearing the case in the defendants' absence, as Magnitsky is dead and Browder is abroad.
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