Banking records obtained from the Panama Papers show links between cellist Sergei Roldugin, a close ally of Russia’s President Vladimir Putin, and the case of Sergei Magnitsky (left), a Russian lawyer who died of mistreatment in prison in 2009, according to the website of the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP), The Moscow Times reports.
A European television channel will not air a controversial new documentary next week on Magnitsky, the lawyer who helped uncover a massive tax fraud case in Russia and later died in a Russian jail, as previously planned, RFE/RL reports:
Claude-Anne Savin, a spokeswoman for ARTE European, said the Franco-German channel is reviewing the film in response to complaints about its accuracy to “make sure the film is clean.” Despite the cancellation of the May 3 airing of the film, titled The Magnitsky Act — Behind The Scenes, Savin said the channel still might air it “in a few weeks.”
The film, which was shot by Russian documentary filmmaker Andrei Nekrasov, was scheduled to premiere at the European Parliament on April 27. That showing was canceled following complaints from Magnitsky’s relatives and former colleagues
William Browder, a U.S.-born British investor who employed Magnitsky and has led the international campaign to hold Moscow accountable for his death, says he sent ARTE a list of “factual errors” in the film and warned them they would be legally accountable for knowingly broadcasting false statements.
“It is one thing to have free speech, but it is another thing to try to manipulate and to use lies, innuendo, and fabrications to make a point which isn’t true,” Browder told RFE/RL. “That’s why there are libel laws out there to protect people from this type of thing.”
“The movie is just a collection of lies and fabrications, which desecrates the memory of Sergei Magnitsky and changes the whole story of how he died,” Browder added.
MEPs from leading groups – the EPP, the S&D, ECR, Alde and the Greens – are to write to EU foreign relations chief Federica Mogherini urging her to take action, EUObserver adds.
“Ironically, the effort to discredit me had the opposite effect,” Browder told EUobserver.
“Many people in the European Parliament have taken a new interest [in the issue] and plan to put pressure on the EU Council [where member states meet] to implement the 32-person Magnitsky sanctions list.”
German lawmaker Elmar Brok, chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee in the European Parliament, told RFE/RL the effort to show the film at the parliament was “a wrong idea.”
“This is a piece of propaganda that should not be part of our parliamentary work,” he said.