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6 Jul, 2020 18:38

UK sanctions head of Russian investigative committee, following US lead

UK sanctions head of Russian investigative committee, following US lead

As part of rolling out the UK’s own sanctions agenda for alleged human rights abuses around the world, London has blacklisted 25 Russian nationals, including the head of the Investigative Committee, Alexander Bastrykin.

Bastrykin has led the law enforcement agency – the Russian equivalent of the FBI in the US – since January 2011. In that capacity, he was sanctioned by the US in 2017, ostensibly over the death of accountant Sergey Magnitsky in a Russian prison in 2009.

While the sanctions, announced Monday by Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab, are supposed to be the first autonomous foreign policy initiative by the UK since Brexit in January, they largely follow the lead of the US ‘Magnitsky Act,’ passed in response to a lobbying campaign by Magnitsky’s boss and British national Bill Browder, who is wanted in Russia for tax fraud.

Bastrykin’s ban is largely symbolic, since he has no assets in the UK or the US, but the visa ban could make it difficult for Scotland Yard to cooperate with Russian law enforcement in tracking down and arresting criminals.