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U.S. Seeks Seizure Of Real Estate Connected To Magnitsky Fraud Scheme

  • RFE/RL

Russian lawyer Sergei Magnitsky died in pretrial detention in 2009.

Russian lawyer Sergei Magnitsky died in pretrial detention in 2009.

U.S. authorities have moved to seize millions of dollars' worth of Manhattan real estate in what would be the first asset seizure connected to the tax fraud scheme uncovered by Russian lawyer Sergei Magnitsky.

A complaint filed on September 10 by the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York said Cyprus-based real estate corporation Prevezon Holdings, owned by Russian Denis Katsyv, was one of the companies that benefited from an elaborate scheme to steal $230 million from Russian state coffers that was later revealed by Magnitsky.

The company and its eight subsidiaries laundered some of the money through the purchase of four luxury condominiums and two commercial spaces in Manhattan, the complaint alleges.

Katsyv has previously said he is innocent of any involvement in the fraud scheme.

The complaint also seeks to seize the assets of two "related companies."

Magnitsky died in 2009 in pre-trial detention after being repeatedly denied medical care. Supporters say his death was punishment for his whistleblowing.

His case provoked an international outcry and has led to passage of the Magnitsky Act in the United States, which sanctions officials implicated in the lawyer's case and in other perceived gross human rights violations.

In July Russia convicted Magnitsky of tax fraud posthumously.
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