MOSCOW, November 9 (RIA Novosti) – Russian investigators cleared a Moscow tax official off the “Magnitsky list” who was implicated in a $230 million swindle.
The Investigative Committee said it found no evidence that Olga Stepanova was involved in the alleged tax return fraud scheme, Novaya Gazeta newspaper reported Friday.
The committee was also cited as saying it could not question two other tax officials linked to the case. It said earlier they have left the country.
Hermitage Capital lawyer Sergei Magnitsky has claimed that Stepanova authorized an illegal tax return in 2007 that robbed companies linked to Hermitage of 5.4 billion rubles ($230 million).
Magnitsky was himself arrested after the exposé on unrelated tax evasion charges he called fabricated.
He died in custody in 2009 of health problems amid claims that he was denied treatment and subjected to physical abuse.
No officials were convicted over his death. Investigators also dismissed his reports about the tax fraud scheme.
Pro-Magnitsky website Russian-untouchables.com said in 2011 Stepanova and her ex-husband earned a combined $40 million from her authorizing a fraudulent tax return.
Stepanova, who retired last summer, has previously denied all accusations.
Last December, the United States blacklisted Stepanova, along with 17 other suspects in the Magnitsky case.