Magnitsky List Official Charged

Olga Tsymai, an official named on the Magnitsky List, has been charged with embezzling 4.4 billion rubles ($132 million) of Russian government budget funds through a fraudulent VAT tax return scheme, according to the Moscow Times.

Tsymai, a former employee of tax inspectorate No. 28, verified falsified tax return documents and also assisted submitters in getting tax returns from inspectorate No. 25. Tsymai was the head of the audit department and made certain that the fraudulent documents wouldn’t raise any questions.

The Magnitsky List consists of 18 people who are banned from the United States. The list is the result of the Magnitsky Act, signed by President Obama in December 2012 in response to the death of Russian whistleblower Sergei Magnitsky. Magnitsky faced accusations of a $230 million tax fraud from the officials he had accused of being responsible. OCCRP produced a series concerning the events of his death.

Tysmai is accused of being a member of a criminal group formed in 2009. The group registered nine fake companies and created counterfeit documents for requesting tax returns.

The money collected in the tax returns was transferred by the Federal Treasury branch in Moscow to the companies’ bank accounts between 2009 and 2010. The money was then either withdrawn by the companies or transferred abroad.

The Investigative Committee said that Tysmai has been charged twice with grand scale fraud, but avoided arrest by signing a pledge promising she would not leave Russia.

Olga Stepanova, the current head of inspectorate No. 28, is being investigated for a similar scheme involving the embezzlement of 5.4 billion rubles.