Magnitsky case defendant’s life in danger, witness says

By Andrei Skvarsky.

A Moscow court has been told there is a conspiracy to murder Dmitry Kratov, the only defendant in the Magnitsky case, said British investment fund Hermitage Capital.

Olga Grigorieva, a former head of the medical service for Moscow’s prisons, told the Tverskoi Court that a former prison official had warned her in a phone call that “Kratov will be murdered in his detention centre”.

She was also warned that she and her mother and son would be in danger if she were “too talkative” when questioned by the court, according to a Hermitage statement.

Grigorieva said she had received the warnings from Mikhail Tremasov, a former member of staff at the Butyrka remand prison.

She cited Tremasov as telling her that Kratov’s trial was a put-up job, that those guilty of Magnitsky’s death had picked Kratov as their scapegoat, and that it was pointless to “sing any praise” to him in court.

Hermitage said the judge, Tatyana Neverova, refused to order any security measures for Grigorieva, advising her to seek protection from law enforcement services.

Magnitsky was arrested on a tax evasion charge after accusing senior government officials of stealing 5.4bn rubles ($230m) from the Russian state through tax rebate schemes.

A gravely sick man, he died at Moscow’s Matrosskaya Tishina detention centre in November 2009 after being denied essential medical assistance, and after allegedly being beaten up by eight security guards.

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