MOSCOW -- Russia's Interior Ministry has denied reports saying a new posthumous probe has been launched against whistle-blowing lawyer Sergei Magnitsky.
The ministry's press service said on January 13 that "it is not a practice to open criminal cases against dead people."
Earlier in the day, Hermitage Capital Management, the U.K.-based investment fund that employed Magnitsky, said a new case of embezzlement of 5.4 billion rubles ($162 million) had been launched.
Magnitsky died in a Russian jail in 2009 after uncovering a massive fraud scheme by officials.
He had endured nearly a year of custody that included "willfully cruel treatment" and "torture," according to
the chairwoman of the Moscow Helsinki Group, Lyudmila Alekseyeva.
The case contributed to increased tensions between Moscow and Washington.
In April 2013, Washington imposed visa bans and asset freezes on 18 individuals, mainly Russian officials implicated in Magnitsky's death.
Russia responded with visa bans against 18 U.S. citizens.
In July, a Moscow court found Magnitsky guilty of tax evasion in an unprecedented posthumous trial.
With reporting by RIA Novosti and Interfax