Russia has compiled a list of U.S. officials with ties to Guantanamo Bay and denied their entry visas — all in retaliation for U.S. sanctions against Russian officials with alleged ties to the suspicious death of an attorney who battled corruption and abuse, Sergei Magnitsky.
Congress in December halted visas and froze the assets of Russians rumored to be linked to Magnitsky's death. The attorney had been investigating a $230 million tax fraud case that included high-ranking Russian officials. In 2008, he was arrested and charged with fabricating the entire fraud issue. He died in jail in November 2009, at age 37, after being denied medical care.
On Monday, Russian Deputy Foreign Affairs Minister Sergei Ryabkov, in a statement published by Bloomberg announcing the "Guantanamo list," denied any political mischief.
"We made a decision to get the usual list wider, and called it 'The Guantanamo list' for convenience," he said, according to Bloomberg. "It's a label. Like Johnnie Walker [whiskey]."
Before Monday, the list of U.S. officials denied entry to Russia stood at 11. Russia added another 49, including "judges, investigators, justice ministry officials and special services agents" who were tied to the sentencing of Viktor Bout, the Los Angeles Times reported. Bout, an arms dealer who was nicknamed the "Merchant of Death," was sentenced to 25 years imprisonment in federal court.
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