Wednesday 22 November 2017

Lawyer for Russian whistleblower's family injured in Moscow flat fall

Nataliya Magnitskaya, the mother of lawyer Sergei Magnitsky who died in jail (AP)
Nataliya Magnitskaya, the mother of lawyer Sergei Magnitsky who died in jail (AP)

A lawyer hired by the family of a Russian whistleblower who died in jail has been seriously injured in a fall from his Moscow apartment.

Nikolai Gorokhov, 53, who represented the family of Sergei Magnitsky, apparently plunged from his fourth floor apartment on Tuesday as he and a group of workers were trying to lift a jacuzzi into his home.

He is in a serious condition in hospital with head injuries although he is conscious and responding to doctors, according to a statement from William Browder, the former employer of Mr Magnitsky.

"They were lifting a jacuzzi through the window," according to Anastasia Berezina, 22, a neighbour who called an ambulance for Mr Gorokhov.

Ms Berezina said that the equipment Mr Gorokhov and other workers were using was "ramshackle".

Russian media published photos from the scene that show a damaged bathtub in the street next to some wooden scaffolding.

Mr Gorokhov was due to represent Mr Magnitsky's mother on Wednesday in a Moscow court and is a witness in a US money laundering case, according to Mr Browder.

Natalya Magnitskaya, Mr Magnitsky's mother, said she had no information about the incident.

"It is extremely suspicious," Mr Browder said, suggesting the fall could be related to Mr Gorokhov's work challenging President Vladimir Putin's government.

He said: "Gorokhov is a serious problem for the Putin regime as he has spent the last seven years exposing their complicity in the death of Sergei Magnitsky."

Russian news agency Interfax quoted an unnamed law enforcement officer as saying the case had no "criminal element".

Mr Magnitsky died in a Moscow prison at the age of 37 after accusing officials of stealing 230 million dollars (£184m) via tax rebates.

Russia's presidential council on human rights said Mr Magnitsky, who was a lawyer for Mr Browder's Hermitage Capital firm, was beaten and denied medical treatment while in jail.

The US passed the Magnitsky Act in 2012 that sanctioned five Russian officials involved in alleged human rights violations in the case.

AP

Press Association

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