The UK’s Home Office has barred 60 Russians linked to the Sergei Magnitsky whistleblower case from travelling to Britain, according to the Daily Telegraph:
The news comes four months after Mr Magnitsky’s widow, Natalya Zharikova, urged the Government to follow in the footsteps of the US by barring her husband’s abusers.The US passed the Magnistky Act in December 2012, banning those officials deemed responsible for the lawyer’s death.
Mr Magnitsky had found that a criminal gang, aided by Russian police and tax officials, seized Hermitage’s Russian subsidiaries and created false claims to obtain a court decision that would allow all $230m of tax the hedge fund had paid to be rebated.
Polls confirm that corruption is one of the foremost causes of dissatisfaction amongst the Russian public and was one of the issues which inspired the mass protests of 2011-2012, says a report from the Henry Jackson Society, a UK-based bipartisan group. It is often tied, both directly and indirectly, to human rights abuses, by entrenching disrespect for individual rights in the political system. The scale of this domestic problem also has significant ramifications in a globalised economy as funds obtained through corruption are laundered and circulated throughout the world.
The report, with a foreword by Dominic Raab MP, provides a timely reminder of the unique challenges facing Russia, a country burdened with endemic corruption at a critical stage of its economic and political development. It contains stark analysis regarding both the nature and the scale of this criminality – illustrated by the estimated $211.5 billion of illicit capital that left Russia between 1994 and 2011.
Among the ideas raised by this report is that the U.K. Parliament should pass a similar version of the Sergei Magnitsky (right) Rule of Law Accountability Act, which was signed into law in the United States in December 2012. The law imposes visa bans and asset freezes on the individuals implicated in the imprisonment and death of Magnitsky, as well as any other Russian citizen credibly suspected of human rights abuses.
“Within Russia, the caustic effect of corruption can be seen in the dysfunctionality and human repression of the Russian political system,” said Alan Mendoza, Executive Director for the Henry Jackson Society.
“Externally, its malign effects are felt through the dispersal of illicit funds around the world, poisoning other countries’ financial systems,” he adds. “The report will make a major contribution towards explaining how we in the West can halt this scourge from spreading.”