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Tax Officials Accused by Magnitsky of Stealing $186M Flee Country

Two tax officials accused by former Hermitage Capital lawyer Sergei Magnitsky of stealing 5.4 billion rubles ($186 million) in a corruption scheme cannot be questioned in the case because they left the country in May, a newly released Federal Security Service report said.

The FSB report was presented at a hearing in a lawsuit filed by Magnitsky colleague Jamison Firestone against investigators for failing to open probes against government officials accused by Magnitsky of stealing public funds, Interfax reported Tuesday.

The two tax officials mentioned in the FSB report, Olga Tsaryova and Yelena Anisimova, were accused by Magnitsky of stealing $186 million in a tax refund scheme, Firestone's lawyer Alexander Antipov said at the hearing Tuesday.

Tsaryova and Anisimova exited Russia by car in May at a border post in the Belgorod region, the FSB report said. They cannot be served with a summons for questioning in the case because they are not in the country, the report said.

Antipov said at the hearing that Tsaryova and Anisimova bought luxury apartments in Dubai before leaving Russia.

Magnitsky was arrested in 2008 on tax-evasion charges against Hermitage Capital. The 37-year-old died in pretrial detention in 2009 before any charges were filed. While in jail, he was denied treatment for a severe medical condition.

His supporters allege that the case against him was security officials' revenge for accusing tax and police officials of pilfering $230 million in tax funds.

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