A Russian lawyer representing the family of whistleblower Sergei Magnitsky suffered serious head injuries after falling from the fourth floor of his apartment building near Moscow.
Russian newspaper Novaya Gazeta said Nikolai Gorokhov apparently fell from the window Tuesday while trying to lift a bath tub up to his apartment. The paper showed pictures of a shattered tub near the building.
Other reports suggested Gorokhov might have been thrown from the window.
He was taken by helicopter to the hospital.
Gorokhov, 53, has represented the Magnitsky family since 2011.
Magnitsky died in custody in 2009 after uncovering a $230 million tax fraud against the Russian treasury. His evidence implicated a number of government officials and mobsters. The Russian government has said Magnitsky died of natural causes while in jail.
Gorokhov was scheduled to appear in court this week for a case Magnitsky’s mother filed against some of those allegedly involved in the fraud her son uncovered.
Magnitsky had acted as a lawyer for London-based Hermitage Capital, run by William Browder.
Browder pushed the United States to adopt the Magnitsky Act. The 2012 law imposes sanctions on those responsible for the 36-year-old lawyer’s detention, abuse, or death. It also reaches those who concealed his mistreatment, or were involved in or benefited from the criminal conspiracy he uncovered.
Hermitage said this week that Gorokhov was “thrown from the fourth floor of his apartment building.” It didn’t provide detals.
Russia’s Interfax news agency reported that police don’t believe there was criminal intent or anything suspicious about Gorokhov’s fall.
Browder told the New York Times “there is a trail of dead and seriously injured people leading from the Magnitsky case.”
Gorokhov is a key witness for the U.S. Justice Department against a Cypriot company accused of laundering some of the proceeds from the tax fraud Magnitsky uncovered.
Browder told the Times that Russia “is doing everything it can to shut down any serious investigation.”
Richard L. Cassin is the publisher and editor of the FCPA Blog.