Sergei’s Law

Members of the U.S. Congress have proposed legislation designed to specifically punish Russian officials accused of having orchestrated and benefited from the murder by medical blackmail of Hermitage lawyer Sergei Magnitsky.  This could be an appealing and effective strategy to deal with corruption, especially when the bilateral relationship is held sacred, as is the case with the reset.

From the website of the Committee for Security and Cooperation in Europe (CSCE – Helsinki Commission):

U.S. Senator Benjamin L. Cardin (D-MD), Chairman of the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe (Helsinki Commission), and U.S. Representative James P. McGovern (D-MA), Chairman of the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission, today introduced bills that would freeze assets of and block visas to individuals responsible for the 2009 death of Russian anti-corruption lawyer Sergei Magnitsky and a related $234 million tax fraud scheme.

Magnitskydied after suffering torturous conditions in pre-trial detention, beingrepeatedly denied medical treatment. He had exposed the massive fraudand accused Russian officials of stealing the millions of tax dollarspaid by his client, Hermitage Capital Management.

“Nearly a yearafter Sergei’s death, the leading figures in this scheme remain in powerin Russia. It has become clear that if we expect any measure of justicein this case, we must act in the United States,” said Chairman Cardin, who first called in April for a visa banfor the 60 Russian officials responsible for the tax fraud andMagnitsky’s death. “At the least we can and should block these corruptindividuals from traveling and investing their ill-gotten money in ourcountry.” See Chairman Cardin’s bill introduction statement here.