The United Kingdom has introduced no visa sanctions under the so-called ‘Magnitsky List’, the Russian Foreign Ministry said on Tuesday.
The UK authorities told the Russian ambassador in London that “the British side had not introduced any visa restrictions and made no political decisions on the issue,” the ministry’s press service said.
British newspaper The Sunday Times reported earlier that the British Foreign Office sent to its embassy in Moscow the “Magnitsky List,” named after a Russian lawyer who died in pretrial detention in 2009 while investigating alleged official tax fraud. The newspaper cited as proof of its existence a mention in a letter from the Minister of State for Immigration, Damian Green, to a British lawmaker.
According to the Russian Foreign Minister, “British Foreign Secretary William Hague also said that nothing had changed in the British visa practice.”
Lawyer Sergei Magnitsky, who worked for Hermitage Capital, accused Russian tax officials of embezzling $230 million on tax returns through a hijacked firm managed by Hermitage.
He was himself arrested on tax evasion charges his supporters call fabricated and died after 11 months in detention. An official check blamed his death on health problems, but the Kremlin’s human rights council said in 2011 he was severely beaten by prison guards before his death.
No state officials were punished over Magnitsky’s death, and the Russian Investigative Committee is pursuing a posthumous case against him.
The case has generated international backlash, with the United States and several other Western countries currently mulling their own “Magnitsky lists” despite harshly worded objections from the Russian government.