Press Release: UK Judge Sentences ex Russian Police Officer in Magnitsky Case to 3 Months in Prison for Contempt of Court


5 September 2016 – A UK High Court Judge, the Honourable Mr Justice Phillips has sentenced ex Russian police officer Pavel Karpov to three months in prison for contempt of court.

The British court found Pavel Karpov, a 39-year old ex Russian Interior Ministry officer, in contempt of court for failing to appear before the court to answer questions and provide information about his assets in a Ј660,000 ($877,800) judgment against him for costs ordered by the court in his failed libel action against Hermitage Capital Management, Bill Browder and Jamison Firestone in relation to the Magnitsky case.

Justice Phillips concluded Karpov “has been guilty of contempt of court by disobeying the order of Master Eastman” and Karpov should be “committed to Her Majesty’s Prison for a period of 3 months.”

“Pavel Karpov was one of the main figures in the fraud that Sergei Magnitsky uncovered. We are committed to continue seeking justice through all legal means,” said William Browder, CEO of Hermitage Capital Management and leader of the global Magnitsky justice movement.

The UK contempt of court case against Pavel Karpov stems from Karpov’s non-payment of costs of a UK libel action that Karpov himself had initiated four years ago in the UK High Court.

Pavel Karpov’s 2012 UK libel suit was a landmark case of foreign libel tourism. One year after it was filed, in October 2013, the UK High Court threw it out as abuse of court process and/or jurisdiction. The UK High Court ordered Pavel Karpov to pay Hermitage Capital Management over Ј850,000 ($1,130,500) in costs for the libel proceedings. Over Ј660,000 ($877,800) of that amount remains unpaid by Pavel Karpov.

In July 2016, Hermitage Capital Management sought the court’s assistance to recover the debt from Pavel Karpov. Karpov failed to appear in court and, after several notices, the court found him in contempt.

The Honourable Mr Justice Phillips suspended the Committal Order to the 1st December 2016. If Karpov fails to appear before the Court on 1 December 2016 then an arrest warrant will be issued for him .

Former Russian police officer Pavel Karpov had an annual salary of less than Ј10,000, yet was able to hire a top UK law firm, Olswang, to represent him in his failed libel action.

On 12 April 2013, the US Treasury added Pavel Karpov to the financial sanctions list under the Sergei Magnitsky Rule of Law Accountability Act of 2012 for his role in the Magnitsky case.

On 2 April 2014, the European Parliament included Pavel Karpov on its list of individuals to be sanctioned based on their role in the Magnitsky case.

Sergei Magnitsky was Hermitage’s lawyer who uncovered the US$230 million fraud and testified about the complicity of Russian officials in it. He was falsely arrested, detained for 358 days without trial, tortured and killed in Russian police custody at the age of 37.

The events of this case emblematic of corruption and human rights abuse in Putin’s Russia are described in the New-York Times best-seller “Red Notice” by William Browder and in a series of campaign videos on Youtube channel “Russian Untouchables.”

For more information, please contact:

Justice for Sergei Magnitsky

+44 207 440 1777



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