moscow

A group of Russian tax officials is alleged to have helped steal $230m (£140m) from the Russian state in an elaborate tax fraud.

Authorities in Switzerland are reported to have frozen dozens of bank accounts belonging to Russian tax officials.  This is part of a criminal investigation into claims that the funds on them are derived from the biggest tax fraud in Russian history.  The Swiss authorities began investigating after UK investment fund Hermitage filed a complaint against a group of Russian tax officials it alleged had helped steal $230m (£140m) from the Russian state in an elaborate tax fraud.

 

Sources close to Swiss prosecutors said a number of accounts at Credit Suisse had been frozen as “an emergency measure,” pending the outcome of the investigation.

The alleged fraud was originally uncovered by a Russian lawyer called Sergei Magnitsky who was working for Hermitagebut died in jail at the age of 37 after being kept in appalling conditions without essential medical treatment in pre-trial detention for almost a year.

William Browder, Hermitage’s founder, said the move to freeze the accounts was welcome.

He said he expected the Swiss and other authorities to eventually apply for international arrest warrants. “It may be impossible to get justice in Russia, but the thing about a crime of this nature is that it leaves a money trail in many countries that do have a rule of law.”

Via Telegraph