- The Washington Times - Wednesday, November 18, 2009

MOSCOW | A prominent Western investor who has clashed with Russian authorities said Tuesday that a lawyer who advised his fund died in a Moscow jail after being denied medical care.

Russian lawyer Sergei Magnitsky, 37, died Monday night in the Matrosskaya Tishina pretrial detention center after developing pancreatitis that was not treated, said William Browder, CEO of London-based Hermitage Capital Management.

Mr. Magnitsky’s death is likely to deepen Western concerns about the risks faced by anyone who challenges authorities in Russia. Several independent journalists, human rights activists and lawyers have been the victims of unsolved slayings in recent years.

Russian Interior Ministry and prison officials could not be reached for comment.

Hermitage was once the largest investment fund in Russia. But Mr. Browder, a British citizen raised in the U.S., was barred from Russia four years ago by authorities citing national security concerns.

Observers have said he may have made enemies in one of his many high-profile campaigns for greater transparency and efficiency at some of Russia’s biggest conglomerates, most of which have close ties to the state.

Mr. Browder said his fund was targeted in a multimillion-dollar fraud and forgery scheme involving Interior Ministry officers.He said Mr. Magnitsky had been involved in defending Hermitage and its partner HSBC.

Mr. Magnitsky was arrested last November on tax-evasion accusations linked to his work with Hermitage.

“He entered prison as a healthy 37-year-old and exited the prison dead,” Mr. Browder told the Associated Press.

Hermitage Capital Management said Mr. Magnitsky’s mother learned of his death Tuesday morning, after she went to another jail to bring him personal items and was told he had been transferred to Matrosskaya Tishina.

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