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Russia slams visa blacklist of officials

MOSCOW, Sept. 3 (UPI) -- A senior Russian official Monday termed as "perverse" a list of Russians allegedly banned from traveling to Britain.

Alexander Lukashevich, a representative of the Russian Foreign Ministry, said Britain had been asked to confirm or deny the existence of the "Magnitsky List," RIA Novosti reported.

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The leader of the ruling party's parliamentary faction, Andrei Vorobyov, said the list was "perverse" and that it was based on "subjective" factors.

The list allegedly was created by U.S. Sen. Benjamin Cardin, D-Md., and named after a Russian lawyer who died in 2009 while investigating allegations of $230 million in tax fraud by Russian officials, the Russian news agency said.

A number of Russian officials allegedly are on the list, including prosecutors, judges and investigators, the report said

The British Foreign Office has sent the list to its embassy in Moscow, the British newspaper The Sunday Times reported Monday.

The embassy neither confirmed nor denied the list was being used, but a spokesman said the United Kingdom denies entry to foreigners for whom there is "credible evidence" of participating in human rights abuses.

The officials are not banned from entering England, the Times report said, but embassy staff can consider the list when reviewing visa applications from them.

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