Kremlin sacks another official in wake of lawyer’s jail death

General Anatoly Mikhalkin, head of tax crimes at the country’s Interior Ministry, was dismissed by a decree signed by President Dmitry Medvedev.

According to a report in the Financial Times a Kremlin official said Mikhalkin’s sacking was indirectly linked to the Medvedev-ordered investigation into Magnitsky’s death in custody in November (25 November 2009).

The news comes after the sacking of 20 Moscow prison officials earlier this month (11 December 2009).

Magnitsky was advising Hermitage Capital on tax fraud allegations made by Russian state officials when he was arrested on charges of tax evasion.

Mikhalkin is said to be part of an alleged conspiracy, which involved using confiscated documents belonging to Hermitage Capital, to defraud Russian taxpayers of $230m.

William Browder, CEO of Hermitage Capital, said: “President Medvedev has taken an important step by going after the people who are directly responsible for the persecution of Sergey Magnitsky and the loss of $230m in state funds.

“However, the loss of someone’s job can never be compared to the loss of an innocent man’s life. We’re calling for all those individuals who were involved in Sergei Magnitsky’s illegal detention and death…to be brought to justice.”