Russian investigator Pavel Karpov has filed a defamation lawsuit with the High Court in London against Jamison Firestone, managing partner of the Moscow-based law firm Firestone Duncan, who has accused the investigator of involvement in the prosecution and death of Russian anti-corruption lawyer Sergei Magnitsky, Russian daily Vedomosti reported on Friday.
Magnitsky was arrested on tax evasion charges in November 2008 by Maj. Pavel Karpov and Lt.-Col. Artyom Kuznetsov just days after he accused them, along with other officials, of a $230-million tax refund fraud. The 37-year-old lawyer died after almost a year in the infamous Matrosskaya Tishina pre-trial detention center in Moscow.
A probe into his death revealed that the lawyer, who was suffering from untreated pancreatitis and heart condition, did not receive proper medical treatment. The Russian presidential human rights council pointed to multiple violations of the lawyer’s rights during his arrest and detention, including signs that he was beaten by prison guards only hours before his death.
In an article entitled “Russia's Crime of the Century” which was published in the Foreign Policy magazine in April, Firestone, who was Magnitsky's boss at Firestone Duncan, accused Karpov of being a member of a criminal gang which used documents and corporate seals seized during raids at Firestone’s law offices in Moscow to carry out the tax fraud.
Firestone has also released a video, entitled “Russian Untouchables,” in which Kuznetsov is accused of stealing and laundering billions of rubles from the Hermitage Capital Management investment fund which employed Magnitsky, as part of an organized criminal group.
In a lawsuit filed against Firestone on May 4, Karpov asks the London court to order Firestone to pay damage caused by the allegations against him along with trial expenses, Vedomosti said, quoting court documents.
Firestone confirmed that he had been sued, the report said.
Karpov turned to the London court after two failed attempts to sue Firestone and Bill Browder, the chief executive and co-founder of Hermitage Capital, in Russia, Vedomosti said.