Australia Names First In Line For Magnitsky Sanctions

March 30, 2022
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Australia has sanctioned 39 Russians accused of serious corruption and involvement in the death and abuse of the lawyer Sergei Magnitsky, the foreign minister has announced.

Australia has sanctioned 39 Russians accused of serious corruption and involvement in the death and abuse of the lawyer Sergei Magnitsky, the foreign minister has announced.

Following the passage of its Magnitsky Act in late 2021, the Morrison government has unveiled the first set of people to be sanctioned through the legislation.

Magnitsky, a Ukrainian-born Russian lawyer and tax advisor, uncovered widespread corruption by Russian tax and law enforcement officials.

Subsequently, he found himself imprisoned on trumped-up charges and mistreated. He died in custody in November 2009, after being refused medical treatment.

Magnitsky’s case inspired an international movement of sanctions laws to hold those responsible for his death to account and to enable sanctions to be applied to other perpetrators of serious human rights violations and abuses, wherever they occur in the world.

The US, EU, UK and Canada have passed or are in the process of passing similar acts.

Meanwhile, New Zealand’s Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern, committed the country earlier this month to passing a “first of its kind” Russia Sanctions Bill.

“In this first tranche, the government will honour Mr Magnitsky and all who defend the rule of law, with targeted sanctions and travel bans against 14 Russian individuals responsible for the serious corruption that he exposed and a further 25 Russian perpetrators and accomplices of his abuse and death,” said Marise Payne, foreign minister in the centre-right Morrison government, in a statement.

These individuals will be subject to targeted financial sanctions, including asset freezes and travel bans. “This will ensure that Australia does not become a safe haven for those already locked out of like-minded countries and their financial systems,” she said.

On March 18, Australia placed sanctions on 11 Russian banks and government agencies that handle Russia's sovereign debt, as well as on two oligarchs.

In addition, lawmakers imposed sanctions on 22 Russian propagandists, Alexander Lukashenko and members of his family.

This garnered praise from Ukrainian foreign minister Dmytro Kuleba.

On March 28, he tweeted: “Australia stands foursquare behind Ukraine as we fight back Russian aggression. Grateful for imposing sanctions on Russia and providing practical support to Ukraine. We also discussed ways to further strengthen our bilateral cooperation.”

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