News / Europe

Mysterious Death in Britain Linked to Russian Scandal

Granville Road on the St. George's Hill private estate, where Russian businessman Alexander Perepilichnyy collapsed Nov.10, is seen near Weybridge in Surrey, Nov. 28, 2012.
Granville Road on the St. George's Hill private estate, where Russian businessman Alexander Perepilichnyy collapsed Nov.10, is seen near Weybridge in Surrey, Nov. 28, 2012.
Al Pessin
— Police in southern Britain are investigating the mysterious death of Russian businessman Alexander Perepilichny, who had been providing information to Swiss investigators about alleged fraud by Russian executives and officials.

Perepilichny, 44, was found dead outside his luxury home outside London on November 10, but the case was only reported on Wednesday, when officials said the results of a post-mortem examination were inconclusive.

This Nov. 30, 2009 photo shows a portrait of Sergei Magnitsky, a Russian lawyer who worked to expose corruption and died in a Russian prison.This Nov. 30, 2009 photo shows a portrait of Sergei Magnitsky, a Russian lawyer who worked to expose corruption and died in a Russian prison.
x
This Nov. 30, 2009 photo shows a portrait of Sergei Magnitsky, a Russian lawyer who worked to expose corruption and died in a Russian prison.
This Nov. 30, 2009 photo shows a portrait of Sergei Magnitsky, a Russian lawyer who worked to expose corruption and died in a Russian prison.
Perepilichny had fled to Britain three years ago, around the time he provided Swiss prosecutors with documents that activists say prove Russian corruption and money-laundering by Russian criminal gangs. He also reportedly provided information related to the case of Sergei Magnitsky, a Russian lawyer who worked to expose corruption and died in a Russian prison three years ago.

According to Russia's official Human Rights Council, Magnitsky was probably beaten to death. 

There have also been several other mysterious deaths of Russians in Britain with possible links to corruption and organized crime.

Alexander Litvinenko pictured in 2002.Alexander Litvinenko pictured in 2002.
x
Alexander Litvinenko pictured in 2002.
Alexander Litvinenko pictured in 2002.
​In 2006, Alexander Litvinenko, a former Russian security service officer who later became a critic of the Kremlin, died in London. British authorities accused two former Russian security service agents of poisoning him with a radioactive substance. Both men deny it, and Russia has refused to extradite them.

No one yet knows whether Perepilichny was murdered, but the ongoing investigation is renewing focus on corrupt practices by Russian officials, which the former British ambassador to Russia, Andrew Wood, said are endemic.

"Because at the top, people don't obey the law, that gives license to everybody else not to obey the law and to grab what they can while they can," Wood said. "That doesn't mean everybody does it. It just means it is inherent in the system."

And the former ambassador said that makes the corruption very difficult to root out.

The director of the Russia Institute at London's King's College, Sam Greene, has a slightly different view. He said many people in Russia are not happy with the situation, and the leaders might like to reduce it, if only to ease public anger. But he said officials' ability to drain cash from the bureaucratic system does serve the leadership's interests by fostering the loyalty of corrupt officials, particularly in distant parts of the country.

"The challenge for the leadership in Russia is to solve corruption in a way that allows the leadership to continue governing the way it wants to govern, which is not necessarily well served by instituting channels of accountability and public oversight," he said.

Cases like the deaths of Perepilichny and Magnitsky create friction with the West, added Greene. That is reflected in anti-Western rhetoric by Russian leaders and a move in the U.S. Congress to freeze the bank accounts of 60 Russian officials believed to have been involved in the Magnitsky case.

Former Ambassador Wood said the corruption and apparently related deaths also fuel tensions between Russia and the West in another way.

"I think there is a link in that a great many Russians, I would think the majority of Russians, are ashamed of it," he said. "They think this is wrong. And therefore, it's only natural for people in those sorts of circumstances actually to look for somebody else to blame."

Wood said that helps make many Russians receptive to the anti-Western rhetoric by their leaders.

Police in the English county of Surrey will conduct a second post-mortem on Perepilichny's body, along with toxicology tests, to try to determine whether he was murdered. If he was, they will turn to the question of why.

You May Like

EU Court Fines Poland for Hosting CIA 'Black Sites'

Ruling is first time a court has acknowledged suspects were held and tortured at the sites, under US program launched following the 9/11 terrorist attacks More

Migrant Issues Close to Home Spur Groups to Take Action

Groups placing water, food in the desert, or aiding detainees after release, have one common goal: no more deaths of migrants crossing illegally into the US More

Video At AIDS Conference, Prevention Pill Stirs Excitement

Truveda shows promise, spurring debate over access and other approaches More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debatei
X
Shelley Schlender
July 24, 2014 6:43 PM
In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debate

In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Airbus Adds Metal 3D Printed Parts to New Jets

By the end of this year, European aircraft manufacturing consortium Airbus plans to deliver the first of its new, extra-wide-body passenger jets, the A350-XWB. Among other technological innovations, the new plane will also incorporate metal parts made in a 3-D printer. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video Death Toll From Israel-Gaza Conflict Surpasses 700

Gaza officials say a shelling hit a compound housing a United Nations-run school in the Gaza Strip, killing more than a dozen people, during an Israeli offensive in the area. Heavy fighting between the Israeli military and Hamas militants continued on Thursday, pushing up the death toll. So far, more than 730 Palestinians and 35 Israelis have been killed in the conflict. VOA's Scott Bobb has the latest from Jerusalem.
Video

Video AIDS Conference Welcomes Exciting Developments in HIV Treatment, Prevention

Significant strides have been made in recent years toward the treatment and prevention of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. This year, at the International AIDS Conference, the AIDS community welcomed progress on a new pill that may prevent transmission of the deadly virus. VOA’s Anita Powell reports from Melbourne, Australia.
Video

Video Israel Targets Gaza Supply Tunnels

The Israeli military has launched a ground operation in Gaza to destroy the myriad tunnels that may have been used to smuggle weapons to Hamas. VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports that could mean more hardship for the people of Gaza, who obtain some of their essential supplies through these underground passages
Video

Video Researchers Target Low-Cost Avatar Technology

Scientists at the University of Southern California Institute for Creative Technologies say 3-dimensional representations could revolutionize social media. Elizabeth Lee has more from Los Angeles.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.

AppleAndroid