A youngish (44) and apparently healthy Russian drops over dead in a wealthy neighborhood. He has been giving evidence about Russian officials-including those involved in the Magnitsky/Hermitage tax fraud and Magnitsky’s murder-putting large sums in Swiss bank accounts.
Given those facts, would you suspect foul play? I surely would.
But apparently not Surrey police, who had to be dragooned into considering the possibility that Alexander Perepilichnyy had been murdered:
Police investigating the death of a whistleblower found dead in Surrey were unwilling to believe that the Russian mafia may have been involved and “brushed off” attempts to explain that he had been at risk from an international organised crime syndicate, it has been claimed.
. . . .
London law firms Brown Rudnick and Peters & Peters wrote repeatedly to the Surrey force on behalf of Browder, explaining they had considerable information on “Perepilichnyy’s role as an informant against Russian organised crime, fraud and corruption”.
Browder added: “They contacted Surrey police multiple times to make sure they were treating this seriously, but were brushed off entirely. All our approaches were apparently ignored.” He said it was only when media reports emerged last week of Perepilichnyy’s death that Surrey police appeared to change tack. Since then the force has ordered a second postmortem, after the first proved inconclusive, and toxicology tests.
Sheesh. Get a clue. Really.
So why would British law enforcement turn a blind eye to the possibility that a mob-connected Russian’s death might not have been the result of natural causes?
Seriously, given the body count of anyone associated with the Hermitage fraud, the nature of the Russians involved, the amount of money involved, and the long history of Russian mob murders, any law enforcement official assigned to investigate the death of a Russian immigrant with mob ties-especially one now cooperating with the authorities-should immediately suspect the death was not natural.
Even now that Surrey police are alert to the possibility, I doubt this case will be resolved. If there’s one thing Russians do well, it’s contract murder. The Litvinenko case remains open, almost 7 years later. There the means-polonium-was identified, but the poisoner remains at large. It’s quite possible that those who wanted Perepilichnyy dead could find someone capable of poisoning him with a very difficult to detect substance.
But the Magnitsky Act is an outrage. Putin, Medvedev, Lavrov, et al tell me so.