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Magnitsky case: Switzerland should not release suspect funds prematurely

Written declaration No. 715 | Doc. 15209 | 30 April 2021

Signatories:
Mr Emanuelis ZINGERIS, Lithuania, EPP/CD ; Ms Boriana ÅBERG, Sweden, EPP/CD ; Ms Iwona ARENT, Poland, EC/DA ; Mr Algirdas BUTKEVIČIUS, Lithuania, SOC ; Mr Boriss CILEVIČS, Latvia, SOC ; Sir Roger GALE, United Kingdom, EC/DA ; Mr André GATTOLIN, France, ALDE ; Ms Maria JUFEREVA-SKURATOVSKI, Estonia, ALDE ; Mr Irakli KOBAKHIDZE, Georgia, SOC ; Ms Yevheniia KRAVCHUK, Ukraine, ALDE ; Mr Eerik-Niiles KROSS, Estonia, ALDE ; Mr Kakhaber KUTCHAVA, Georgia, SOC ; Ms Inese LĪBIŅA-EGNERE, Latvia, EPP/CD ; Mr Kęstutis MASIULIS, Lithuania, EPP/CD ; Mr Oleksandr MEREZHKO, Ukraine, SOC ; Mr Arkadiusz MULARCZYK, Poland, EC/DA ; Mr Urmas REITELMANN, Estonia, EC/DA ; Lord Simon RUSSELL, United Kingdom, EC/DA ; Mr Serhii SOBOLIEV, Ukraine, EPP/CD ; Mr Bogusław SONIK, Poland, EPP/CD ; Ms Vilja TOOMAST, Estonia, ALDE ; Mr Sergiy VLASENKO, Ukraine, EPP/CD ; Ms Yelyzaveta YASKO, Ukraine, EPP/CD

We, the undersigned, declare the following:

The Parliamentary Assembly has repeatedly flagged the failure of the Russian authorities to investigate the death of whistle-blower Sergei Magnitsky and the whereabouts of the proceeds of the massive tax reimbursement fraud disclosed by him. Some US $20 million were tracked to Switzerland and were frozen in 2011, pending further investigations.

These investigations were effectively stalled for many years. Recent reports about the close relationship between top Swiss prosecution officials and the Russian Prosecutor General’s office leading to the departure of the Swiss Attorney General go a long way towards explaining why so little progress was made. Surprisingly, therefore, the Swiss prosecution service has recently indicated that it is planning to release the bulk of the frozen suspect funds.

We consider that this would send the wrong signal to the perpetrators and organisers of the crime against Sergei Magnitsky and to the beneficiaries of the crime disclosed by him. We therefore call on the Swiss authorities to fully investigate the origins of the funds in question, using all resources available for international co-operation and to refrain from releasing any suspect funds before all possibilities are exhausted.

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