10m USD laundered in Estonia in Magnitski case

24.01.2013, 10:55

Estonian banks were involved in transferring 10 million US dollars that are suspected to have been embezzled from Russian state budget in 2008, writes Eesti Päevaleht with reference to an investigation that the Estonian agency that combats money laundering made last year.

The embezzling of the money in question was found out by lawyer Sergei Magnitski before he was murdered.

Estonian authorities has discovered that 10m USD had been transferred in suspicious transactions in 2008, according to public prosecutor Piret Paukštys.

From Estonia, the money was transferred electronically to other countries and to accounts owned by foreign companies.

Because the money did not stay in Estonia, Estonian authorities have decided not to open a criminal investigation in the case.

Last year a similar investigation was started in Switzerland, Latvia and Cyprus. This year also Lithuania started to investigate these money transfers.

In 2007 the Russian Tax Authority paid back 230m USD to three companies involved with investment fund Hermitage Capital: Parfenion, Makhaon and Rilend.

Magnitski who was lawyer of Hermitage Capital started to investigate the money transfers and soon found out that the people behind the illegal refunding claim were a group of criminals, Russian Interior Ministry investigators, judges and tax officials.

Instead of investigating the case, Russian authorities started to investigate Magnitski. He died in prison in 2008.