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Russia Clears Investigator Of Fund Lawyer's Death

Sergei Magnitsky

Sergei Magnitsky

Russian prosecutors today cleared a chief investigator whom rights groups believe was responsible for the death of a lawyer for what was the country's largest Western investment fund.

Sergei Magnitsky, who worked for Hermitage Capital, was detained in 2008 after accusing Interior Ministry officials of receiving an illegal $230 million tax refund.

Magnitsky was arrested after prosecutors accused him of committing the very crime he alleged to have uncovered.

The 37-year-old lawyer died of heart failure after 11 months in custody in a case that sparked international outrage.

Authorities said today the prosecutor-general's probe into the allegations have cleared Interior Ministry investigator Oleg Silchenko of involvement in Magnitsky's death.

The case has been raised by visiting Western dignitaries during talks with top Russian officials and is seen as further evidence of why the country remains a strong investment risk.

compiled from agency reports