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    US Sanctions 5 Russian Individuals in Relation to Magnitsky Act

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    The US Department of the Treasury Office of Foreign Assets Control said that the United States added five Russian individuals to its Specially Designated Nationals list for alleged violations of the Magnitsky Act.

    WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — The United States added five Russian individuals to its Specially Designated Nationals list for alleged violations of the Magnitsky Act, the US Department of the Treasury Office of Foreign Assets Control said.

    The individuals sanctioned on Monday are Alexander Ivanovich Bastrykin, Stanislav Evgenievich Gordievsky, Dmitri Kovtun, Andrei Konstantinovich Lugovoi and Gennady Nikolaevich Plaksin.

    Additionally, the Treasury Department sanctioned an Iranian, Mustafa Mughniyeh, and a Lebanese national Ali Damush, for terrorism over their alleged connections to Hezbollah.

    The US Congress passed the Magnitsky Act in 2012, which allows Washington to deny visas and free the assets of Russian officials allegedly involved in the death of Russian lawyer Sergei Magnitsky.

    President Barack Obama expanded the Act globally when he signed the 2017 Defense Department budget last year.

    On November 24, 2008, Magnitsky was arrested by the tax crime agency of Russia's Interior Ministry in Moscow. He was charged with abetting his company, the law firm Firestone Duncan, in tax evasion as part of a criminal case involving the London-based Hermitage Capital Management investment fund.

    Alexander Bastrykin is a former Deputy Prosecutor General and is currently head of the Investigative Committee of Russia.

    Stanisalv Gordievsky was an investigator with the Southern District of Moscow who heard Magnitsky's testimony regarding the Hermitage Fund prior to his arrest.

    Gennady Plaksin, then Chairman of the Board and shareholder of Universal Savings Bank, was a plaintiff in the court proceedings against the Hermitage Fund and gave evidence to the Russian Interior Ministry in connection with the case.

    Dmitri Kovtun and Andrei Lugovoi are accused by the United Kingdom of involvement in the 2006 death of their former colleague, Russian agent Alexander Litvinenko in London.

    The Russian Foreign Ministry criticized the UK inquiry into Litvinenko’s as politicized and lacking transparency because it failed to prove that the polonium-210 used to poison the intelligence officer came from Russia.

    Magnitsky died in the Matrosskaya Tishina pre-trial detention center in Moscow in November 2009 after nearly a year-long detention.

    Forensic experts later concluded that he died due to acute heart failure, cerebral and pulmonary edema, with sharp bleeding caused by ventricular fibrillation resulting from complications of two existing diseases: secondary dismetabolic cardiomyopathy on the backdrop of diabetes and active chronic hepatitis.

    On July 11, 2013, Moscow’s Tverskoy Court posthumously convicted Magnitsky of tax evasion, and closed the case due to his death.

    The Russian Foreign Ministry maintains that the sanctions "go beyond elementary decency" and threaten the cooperation between the two nations’ law enforcement agencies. In response to the Magnitsky Act, Russian President Vladimir Putin approved the Dima Yakovlev Law, which prohibits foreign adoption of Russian children.

    The law was named for a 21-month old Russian boy who died of heat stroke when his American adoptive father left him in the back seat of a car for nine hours.

    As a result of the designations on Monday, the five individuals’ assets subject to US jurisdiction are frozen and US persons are generally prohibited from doing business with them. Additionally, the sanctioned individuals are barred from entering the United States and are ineligible for US visas, the State Department noted.

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    anti-Russian sanctions, Magnitsky Act, United States, Russia
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