On March 21, the British investor Bill Browder, a vocal critic of Russian President Vladimir Putin, reported that Nikolai Gorokhov, who currently represents the Magnitsky family, was “thrown from the top floor of his apartment building.” Gorokhov was hospitalized with severe head injuries at Moscow’s Botkin Hospital. The Russian official version was that Gorokhov was allegedly injured while attempting to lift a bathtub up to his apartment with a rope, which reportedly snapped. The lawyer Sergei Magnitsky was working for Browder when he was arrested after exposing a tax $230 million fraud by Russian official. In 2009 Magnitsky was killed in prison.
However, as Browder wrote, on March 22 Gorokhov was scheduled to appear in a Moscow appeals court. He was set to challenge a lower court’s refusal to hear a complaint filed by Magnitsky’s mother in relation to the fraud exposed by her son.
Nikolia Gorokhov is also a key witness in the US Government’s case against Prevezon Holdings, a Cyprus company owned by Denis Katsyv, son of senior Russian Government official Petr Katsyv. That case was being handled by U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara, until he was fired by President Donald Trump on March 11, 2017. The case became personal for Bharara after April 2013, when Russia included him on a list of 18 U.S. individuals banned from entering Russia in retaliation for the Magnitsky act.
Previously, Attorney Bharara was involved in other well known cases involving Russians like the U.S.-Russian spy case of 2010, when 10 undercover Russian agents were arrested, but then eventually handed over to Moscow in a spy swap, and the case against 49 Russian diplomats and their spouses, accused of participating in a nearly 10-year “fraud scheme” to obtain $500,000 in Medicaid benefits. The trial with Gorokhov’s involvement is scheduled to begin in the Federal court in New York on May 15, 2017.
On March 23, Gorokhov was still alive and in the intensive care unit. If he survives, he will probably explain what really happened to him.