Investigators on Thursday declined to close a probe against Sergei Magnitsky, a lawyer who died of an untreated illness in jail, extending the investigation by another two months despite his family's pleas to end it.
Magnitsky's family petitioned to get the probe against him closed. His mother and wife have talked to prosecutors and the Interior Ministry. But the Investigative Committee of the Interior Ministry said Thursday that it must still contact his other close relatives to make sure they agree. Under Russian law, once a suspect is dead authorities can close a probe with the agreement of the family. A spokesman for the department who asked to be unnamed, citing the department's policy, said they have not contacted all of Magnitsky's close relatives, and "haven't got a definite answer" from his mother and wife.
But Magnitsky's mother, Natalya Magnitskaya, has repeatedly petitioned to get the case closed, and said "there are no other relatives" except for herself, Magnitsky's widow and their two children. Two prison doctors have been charged with oversight leading to death, but none of the officials Magnitsky accused of framing him have faced charges. Magnitsky worked for Hermitage Capital Management, an investment fund owned and run by U.S.-born William Browder, who has since been barred from Russia as a security risk. Magnitsky was charged with tax evasion linked to his defense of Hermitage Capital and arrested by the same police officials he had accused of a $230 million tax fraud.