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‘Magnitsky sanctions’ worry Russia business elite

Russian moguls are concerned that fallout from the death of anti-corruption lawyer Sergei Magnitsky will hurt their ability to do international business, according to a Reuters report from Davos.

In December, President Obama signed into law the Magnitsky Act. It imposed visa bans and asset freezes on anyone responsible for Magnitsky’s torture and death in a Russia jail three years ago. He was detained and held without a trial after uncovering a $230 million tax fraud apparently orchestrated by mobsters and government officials.

No one in Russia has been tried for his 2009 death or the crimes he discovered.

Reuters said Friday that ‘some Russian tycoons are worried their legitimate cross-border money transfers involving anything from industrial investments to luxury properties will get hit by red tape.’

They’re concerned the sanctions will spread from the United States to the U.K., EU, and beyond.

The Russian business elite gathered at the World Economic Forum want President Putin to investigate Magnitsky’s death and hold accountable those implicated, the report said.

We named the Magnitsky Act the biggest anti-corruption story of 2012.

The tycoons are reluctant to speak publicly. ‘Russian business has tried to stay out of politics since the country’s then richest man Mikhail Khodorkovsky was jailed for tax evasion in the last decade,’ Reuters said, ‘a move Putin’s critics say was revenge for Khodorkovsky’s political ambitions.’

The negative fallout from the Magnitsky case is hurting the flow of foreign investment into Russia and depressing stock and other asset prices, the report said.

The full story from Reuters is here.

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