Treasury blacklists 12 Russians under Magnitsky Act

The Treasury Department blacklisted 12 Russians on Tuesday for their roles in the detention and the death of lawyer Sergei Magnitsky nearly five years ago.

The dozen individuals sanctioned by the U.S. government will have all property and personal interests blocked in the United States under the 2012 human rights law known as the Magnitsky Act.

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All told, 10 were sanctioned because of their involvement with the “detention, abuse or death" of Magnitsky or their involvement in the criminal conspiracy he uncovered.

The other two were named for "gross human rights violations" against people who wanted to expose illegal activity by Russian government officials.

In 2008, the Moscow-based lawyer for Hermitage Capital Management, told a Russian court that he had discovered an elaborate embezzlement scheme by police and tax officials involving more than $200 million in tax funds.

After his statements, Magnitsky was charged with tax evasion and held for 11 months in prison where his pancreatitis went untreated.

The 37-year-old died on Nov. 16, 2009 in Moscow's Matrosskaya Tishina prison.

In 2011, under then President Dmitry Medvedev, the Kremlin's human rights commission determined that Magnitsky had been handcuffed, severely beaten and denied medical care.

In an odd twist, a Russian court found Magnitsky guilty of tax evasion in July 2013, nearly four years after his death.

Congress added the Magnitsky language to legislation in 2012 that gave Russia entry into the World Trade Organization.

The law angered Russian officials and late in 2012, President Vladimir Putin signed a law banning Americans from adopting Russian orphans.

This law requires that sanctions be imposed on those who were involved in Magnitsky's detention, the tax fraud he uncovered or from financially benefited from his jailing.

It also calls for sanctions on those who have killed, tortured or otherwise violated the human rights of those trying to expose illegal activity by Russian officials.

Those sanctioned by Treasury: 

• Dr. Larisa Litvinova, a doctor and the head of the Butyrka Detention Center Hospital for withholding appropriate medical care.

• Dr. Dmitry Kratov, the former chief medical officer at Butyrka for withholding appropriate medical care. A Russian court cleared him of any wrongdoing in Magnitsky's death.

• Dr. Alexandra Gauss, a surgeon at the Matrosskaya Tishina Detention Center for withholding appropriate medical care.

• Fikret Tagiyev, the head of the Matrosskaya Tishina Detention Center who participating in efforts to conceal the legal liability in Magnitsky's case. 

• Igor Alisov, a Moscow judge who oversaw the posthumous trial of Magnitsky and participated in efforts to conceal the legal liability of the case.  

• Andrei Krechetov, an investigator in the Russian Ministry of Internal Affairs and subordinate of Artem Kuznetsov, who was previously designated in April 2013 for his involvement in Magnitsky’s arrest and the criminal conspiracy uncovered by Magnitsky. Krechetov participated in Magnitsky’s arrest.

• Viktor Markelov confessed to participating in the criminal conspiracy uncovered by Magnitsky. He fraudulently re-registered three subsidiaries of Hermitage Capital in the tax fraud scheme.

• Dmitry Klyuev is alleged to have masterminded the fraud. He owned and used the now liquidated Universal Savings Bank to launder about $97 million in fraudulent tax returns. 

• Vladlen Stepanov, a businessman and the ex-husband of Olga Stepanova, the former head of a Moscow tax office who approved the fraudulent tax returns. Treasury designated Stepanova in April 2013 for her involvement in the criminal conspiracy.

• Vyachelsav Khlebnikov, a businessman who was convicted of participating in the tax fraud.  

• Umar Sugaipov participated in the killing of Umar Israilov, who had worked to expose wrongdoing by Russian government officials. 

• Musa Vakhayev participated with Kazbek Dukuzov in the killing of journalist Paul Klebnikov, who was working to expose illegal activity by the Russian government. Treasury designated Dukuzov in April 2013 for his role in Klebnikov's death. 

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