A Russian lawyer who represents the family of Sergei Magnitsky is in intensive care after falling from the fourth floor of his apartment building, according to unconfirmed reports. The Russian newspaper Novaya Gazeta suggested Nikolai Gorokhov had fallen after a winch snapped as he tried to lift a bath to a fourth-floor apartment, though details of the incident remained murky, The Guardian reports.
Magnitsky uncovered a massive fraud that implicated government officials, but was himself arrested in 2008 and died in prison in 2009, amid allegations he had been tortured and medical care had been withheld. Russia later put him on trial posthumously for tax evasion.
Gorokhov, 53, has represented the Magnitsky family since 2011, and was due in court on Wednesday as part of a case brought by Magnitsky’s mother against some of those allegedly involved in the fraud he uncovered.
A hearing was also due in Russia’s case against William Browder, the CEO of Hermitage Capital.
Magnitsky was acting as a lawyer for Hermitage, and after his death, Browder launched a campaign to bring the Russian officials involved in Magnitsky’s death to justice, including lobbying for the Magnitsky Act, which bans Russian officials implicated in rights abuses from entering the US.
Gorokhov is also a witness in a case due to be heard in New York in May which the UK government has brought against a Cyprus-based company alleged to have aided the laundering of proceeds from the fraud.
Hermitage Capital sent a press release stating Gorokhov had been “thrown from the fourth floor of his apartment building” on Tuesday, but did not give any further details. Browder did not respond to an emailed request for further comment.
Magnitsky family lawyer Nikolai Gorokhov thrown from 4th floor apartment in Moscow. Currently in critical condition w/severe head injuries
— Bill Browder (@Billbrowder) 21 марта 2017 г.
Novaya Gazeta quoted an unidentified Hermitage spokesperson stating that in fact Gorokhov had fallen in the stairwell while attempting to lift a bath up to the fourth floor.
The Russian Interfax news agency on Wednesday morning quoted a law-enforcement source as saying police did not believe there was criminal intent or anything suspicious about Gorokhov’s fall.