A lawyer for the family of Russian whistleblower Sergei Magnitsky, who died in jail in 2009, was badly injured after falling from his Moscow apartment just one day before he was due to appear in court for a corruption case.
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Russian media say the lawyer, Nikolai Gorokhov, fell from the fourth floor of the building while lifting a bathtub into his apartment using a crane.
According to a statement from Bill Browder, Magnitsky’s former employer at the Hermitage Capital Management firm, Gorokhov suffered severe head injuries and was hospitalized in the intensive care unit at Botkin hospital.
Gorokhov was launching a probe into the death of Magnitsky, a lawyer that died in a Moscow prison at the age of 37, claiming that organized criminals colluded with Russian government officials and stole $230 million via tax rebates. Magnitsky was jailed after being accused of committing fraud himself and some of his supporters say that he was killed by police abuse. Official records say that he died of acute heart failure and toxic shock caused by pancreatitis.
Russian media said Gorokhov’s incident took place at his house while lifting a bathtub into his home. No workers were injured in the incident.
“He tried to use a homemade mechanism to lift it to the fourth floor. While he was doing that the winch got jammed. He went to fix it a bit and fell, with the jacuzzi and the makeshift scaffolding which landed on top of him,” a witness told Russia channel NTV.
Gorokhov was evacuated by helicopter and in critical condition when arriving at the local hospital.
“Of course, anything is possible. It could be an accident, or something else… We have a lot of questions about what had happened, to which we have no answers,” Hermitage representatives were quoted as saying. “Why this crane broke off is not known. And how Nikolai fell is also a question.”
Gorokhov was scheduled to appear in front of the Moscow City Appeals Court on March 22 to argue against the Tverskoi District Court’s refusal to consider a new criminal complaint filed by Magnitsky’s mother when new evidence was discovered, according to a press release.