Foreign investors get ripped off all the time in many countries. What makes this story unique is the state officials working together to steal $230m from the Russian state itself. The sharks have started to feed on their own blood.What makes it even more worrying is that the Russian government took no action to recover the money when we reported the crime. Rather than going after the rogue officials and criminals, the government turned the full weight of the law enforcement apparatus against us for reporting it. They arrested our lawyer, Sergey Magnitsky, who uncovered the tax rebate fraud. He has since been kept in pre-trial detention on cases I believe were fabricated.
A lawyer representing Hermitage Capital Management, the fund manager, has died in jail amid a dispute between the fund's co-founder Bill Browder and Russian authorities. The death of Sergei Magnitsky, a 37-year old father of two, is set to reignite concerns about investing and doing business in Russia. Irina Dudukina, a spokeswoman for the investigative committee of the Interior Ministry in Moscow, told The Moscow Times that Mr Magnitsky had died of heart failure and toxic shock.
I don'ty know what the word is for this sort of political system. It's got some medieval features, some gangster features, some free(ish) market features heavily moderated by the gangsterism and powerbroking, all wrapped in something marked 'democracy'.
UPDATE - more here and details of Magnitsky's formal complaint (in September) to the prison authorities over his treatment here.