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Assets probed in Russian lawyer's killing

BRUSSELS, May 9 (UPI) -- The people responsible for killing Russian lawyer Sergey Magnitsky have stolen money in European accounts, his former boss says.

Bill Browder, head of Hermitage Capital Management, and his staff have spent a year hunting the assets of Russian officials exposed in a $250 million tax fraud by Magnitsky soon before he was jailed, the EUObserver reports.

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Magnitsky died under suspicious circumstances in police custody Nov. 16, 2009, after almost a year in prison.

Last week, Swiss authorities froze some accounts in Credit Suisse bank after Hermitage broadcast evidence on YouTube.

The video allegedly shows Russian tax official Olga Stepanova, her husband, Vladlen Stepanov, and two associates using firms in Cyprus, Arivust Holdings, and in the British Virgin Islands, Aikate Properties, as well as Credit Suisse, to buy properties in Dubai, Russia and Montenegro.

Stepanova is one of 60 people, including Russian security officials, Browder alleges were involved in a plot to silence Magnitsky.

Browder said EU countries should follow the Swiss example.

Russia responded to the YouTube clip by issuing an arrest warrant against Hermitage's London-based lawyer, Ivan Cherkasov, and threatening a warrant against Browder.

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