In Washington, the Malkin delegation presented documents that it contended were produced by a parliamentary investigation and showed Magnitsky was lying, a drunk and out of shape. The documents also showed that Magnitsky’s client, Hermitage Capital, run by American-born William Browder, was guilty of tax evasion, the delegation said.
In an interview Tuesday, Valery Borshchev, who as a member of Russia’s presidential human rights commission conducted a detailed inquiry into Magnitsky’s death, said the Russian parliament had done no investigation.
“What they said was nonsense, complete nonsense,” Borshchev said. His commission found that investigators prevented Magnitsky from receiving medical treatment and that he was handcuffed and beaten with batons just before his death. The commission’s report has not been pursued — it was sent for action to those it implicated. Since then a doctor was accused of negligence, but the charges were dropped when the statute of limitations expired.
In an interview with the Chicago Tribune, Malkin said that Magnitsky may have been “kicked one times or two times, but this is not the reason for his death.” He said a doctor with the wrong specialty — an epidemiologist — treated Magnitsky and was unable to provide proper care.
No change of mind
None of the American officials has revealed a change of mind, but on Tuesday the delegation reported back to the Federation Council’s international affairs committee. A deputy foreign minister called the visit a success.
“Their work was exceedingly useful, because it allowed us to inform our partners there of the actual situation,” Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov told reporters, repeating that Russia would retaliate with its own list if the Magnitsky bill becomes law.
“There is a whole range of situations in the U.S. where senior and other officials of this country’s ministries and agencies are responsible for systematic and severe human rights violations,” he said.
Malkin has had his own visa travails. He has been denied a Canadian visa for “being a member of a group engaged in organized or transnational crime,” which he denies.
Malkin made his money in business with Bidzina Ivanishvili, a Georgian who is No. 153 on the Forbes world billionaire list. Ivanishvili is offering a political challenge to Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili, who is much despised by Russian President Vladimir Putin.