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Former Russian tax official under investigation for fraud

July 5, 2013 at 2:52 PM

MOSCOW, July 5 (UPI) -- A former Russian tax inspector is being investigated for her role in an alleged fraudulent refund scheme, investigators tell the Kommersant newspaper.

Citing sources involved in the investigation, the newspaper said Olga Tsymai signed documents in 2009 and 2010 that allowed fictitious companies to collect fraudulent tax refunds, allowing $134 million to be funneled to overseas accounts.

U.S. Sen. Benjamin Cardin, D-Md., named Tsymai as one of several Russian officials responsible for human rights abuses, RIA Novosti reported.

Cardin is a sponsor of a bill creating the so-called Magnitsky List of 18 Russian officials who face sanctions from the United States. The bill has created a rift between Russia and the United States, with Russia banning U.S. adoptions in reprisal.

Tsymai, who has moved on to the Defense Ministry, was not on the final list of those facing economic sanctions.

Tsymai has not been arrested, but Kommersant said she has agreed not to leave the country.

Serge Magnitsky, a Russian lawyer who worked for Hermitage Capital, a British investment company, was arrested in 2008 and charged with tax fraud after he made allegations of fraud. He died in prison in 2009 but is still a defendant, the first time the government has tried a dead person.

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