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Treasury Targets Additional Individuals Involved in the Sergei Magnitsky Case and Gross Violations of Human Rights in Russia

Русский Русский

U.S. Department of the Treasury
Office of Public Affairs
May 16, 2019

 

 

Action Further Exposes Those Involved in the Death of Sergei Magnitsky and Its Cover-up, and Highlights the Systemic Human Rights Abuses in Chechnya

Washington – Today, the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) designated five individuals and one entity pursuant to the Sergei Magnitsky Rule of Law Accountability Act of 2012 (the Magnitsky Act).  In addition, the U.S. Department of State issued its annual submission to Congress on the U.S. Government’s actions to implement the Magnitsky Act.

“Treasury continues to impose costs on those involved in the detention, abuse, and death of Sergei Magnitsky, and is committed to addressing broader human rights violations across Russia,” said Sigal Mandelker, Under Secretary of the Treasury for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence. “We are focused on holding accountable those responsible for atrocious acts within Russia, including the extrajudicial killing of Boris Nemtsov and the pervasive abuse of LGBTI persons in Chechnya.”

As a result of today’s actions, any property or interests in property of those designated within or that come within U.S. jurisdiction are blocked, and transactions by U.S. persons involving the designated persons are generally prohibited.  Today’s action brings the total number of individuals or entities designated by OFAC pursuant to the Magnitsky Act to 55.

Sergei Magnitsky’s Detention, Abuse, Death, and the Criminal Conspiracy He Uncovered

Today, OFAC designated Elena Anatolievna Trikulya (Trikulya) for having participated in efforts to conceal the legal liability for the detention, abuse, or death of Sergei Magnitsky.  As an investigator with the Investigative Committee, Trikulya ignored evidence and signed the denial of a petition to initiate a criminal inquiry into those responsible for Magnitsky’s unlawful detention and death.  Trikulya’s actions demonstrate her participation in efforts to prevent the pursuit of justice for those involved in Magnitsky’s detention, abuse, or death.

OFAC also designated Gennady Vyacheslavovich Karlov (Karlov) for having participated in efforts to conceal the legal liability for the detention, abuse, or death of Sergei Magnitsky.  As the Deputy Section Chief of the Investigative Committee of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, Karlov made false or misleading claims about Magnitsky’s detention and abuse, which in turn provided a justification for Magnitsky’s detention.  Karlov also oversaw aspects of Magnitsky’s detention, including a decision not to respond to complaints made by Magnitsky about his deteriorating health, a decision to transfer Magnitsky to a different prison facility one week prior to a scheduled surgery, and the denial of Magnitsky’s requests to allow a visit by his relatives.

Background

Sergei Magnitsky was an attorney and auditor who uncovered a large-scale tax fraud scheme while performing audit work for the Russia-based firm Hermitage Capital Management.  In November 2008, he was arrested and detained by Russian authorities shortly after testifying as a witness as part of a complaint filed by Hermitage Capital Management alleging that a group of officials in the Russian Interior Ministry had been involved in a 5.4 billion ruble ($230 million) tax fraud involving three Hermitage-owned companies, Riland, Parfenion, and Makhaon.  Russian Interior Ministry officials had previously raided the Hermitage offices and removed the original seals of incorporation for those three Hermitage-owned companies.  The companies then were illegally re-registered under different ownership, and sham lawsuits were brought against those companies — with the same lawyers on both sides of the case — resulting in large court judgments against the three companies, for which the companies then claimed a significant and illegal tax refund from the Russian Government.  For exposing this fraud, Magnitsky was subjected to physical and psychological pressure while detained, and on November 16, 2009, he died in a pretrial detention center in Moscow, Russia.

Gross Violations of Human Rights in Russia

Today, OFAC also designated Abuzayed Vismuradov (Vismuradov) for being responsible for extrajudicial killings, torture, or other gross violations of internationally recognized human rights committed against individuals seeking to expose illegal activity carried out by officials of the Government of the Russian Federation, or to obtain, exercise, defend, or promote internationally recognized human rights and freedoms, such as the freedoms of religion, expression, association, and assembly, and the rights to a fair trial and democratic elections, in Russia.  As the commander of the Terek Special Rapid Response Team in the Chechen Republic, Vismuradov was in charge of an operation that illegally detained and tortured individuals on the basis of their actual or perceived LGBTI status.

OFAC also designated the Terek Special Rapid Response Team for being responsible for extrajudicial killings, torture, or other gross violations of internationally recognized human rights committed against individuals seeking to expose illegal activity carried out by officials of the Government of the Russian Federation, or to obtain, exercise, defend, or promote internationally recognized human rights and freedoms, such as the freedoms of religion, expression, association, and assembly, and the rights to a fair trial and democratic elections, in Russia.  Fighters of the Terek Special Response Team detained and tortured persons they believed to be LGBTI, sometimes after the individuals were lured to meetings using social media.

Sergey Leonidovich Kossiev (Kossiev) is also being designated by OFAC for being responsible for extrajudicial killing, torture, or other gross violations of internationally recognized human rights committed against individuals seeking to obtain, exercise, defend, or promote internationally recognized human rights and freedoms, such as the freedoms of religion, expression, association, and assembly, and the rights to a fair trial and democratic elections, in Russia.  As the head of the Corrective Colony 7 (IK-7) penal colony in the Republic of Karelia, Kossiev oversaw and participated in the beatings and abuse of prisoners.  Kossiev oversaw and participated in the beatings and abuse of prisoners, and attempted to conceal the evidence of such abuse.

Finally, OFAC is designating Ruslan Geremeyev (Geremeyev) for acting as an agent of or on behalf of Head of Chechen Republic Ramzan Kadyrov in a matter relating to extrajudicial killings, torture, or other gross violations of internationally recognized human rights committed against individuals seeking to obtain, exercise, defend, or promote internationally recognized human rights and freedoms, such as the freedoms of religion, expression, association, and assembly, and the rights to a fair trial and democratic election in Russia.  OFAC designated Ramzan Kadyrov pursuant to the Magnitsky Act on December 20, 2017.  Geremeyev is a former deputy commander of the Sever Battalion in Chechnya, which is considered part of Kadyrov’s personal guard. Russian investigators twice tried to bring charges against Geremeyev as the possible organizer of Boris Nemtsov’s murder, but were blocked by the head of the Investigations Committee.

Background

Since early 2017, Chechnya’s law enforcement and security officials have launched a series of “purges” of individuals they believed to be LGBTI.  They have rounded up dozens of people on these grounds, some of whom have disappeared, with others returned to their families barely alive from beatings and with their captors outing them to families and encouraging the families to carry out so-called honor killings.  Several people are alleged to have died as a result.

Identifying information on the individuals and entities designated today.


This translation is provided as a courtesy and only the original English source should be considered authoritative.
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