Russia Bans Current and Former DOJ Officials in Retaliation for Magnitsky Act List
By Mary Jacoby | April 14, 2022 7:54 pm

What do John Yoo, Preet Bharara and U.S. District Judge Jed Rakoff have in common? All have been banned from entering Russia.

Russia’s Foreign Ministry on Saturday released a list of 18 banned Americans, a day after the U.S. Treasury announced its own list of 18 Russians barred from obtaining U.S. entry visas for their alleged roles in human rights violations pursuant to the Magnitsky Act, signed into law last year.

Bharara, the U.S. Attorney in Manhattan, oversaw the prosecution of Russian arms trafficker Viktor Bout. Rakoff was the judge who sentenced Russia pilot Konstantin Yaroshenko to 20 years in prison for drug trafficking. Yoo made the list for his Bush-era role as a Justice Department Office of Legal Counsel attorney who helped draft the now-withdrawn legal authorization for the use of torture against terrorism suspects.

“Darn,” Yoo told the New York Times in an email. “There goes my judo match with Putin.”

The list singled out six current and former Assistant U.S. Attorneys in Manhattan as well.

Federal prosecutors Anjan Sahni, Brenda R. McGuire, Christian R. Everdell and Jenna Minicucci Dabbs were assigned to the Bout case. Dabbs also worked the case against Yaroshenko, nabbed in a Drug Enforcement Administration sting in Liberia of drug traffickers.

Christopher L. LaVigne, also on the list, recently left the SDNY U.S. Attorney’s office for the law firm Shearman & Sterling LLP. He helped try the 2011 case against Yaroshenko and several West African defendants arrested in the Liberia sting. Michael Max Rosensaft, the final AUSA on the list, worked the Yaroshenko case before moving on to the law firm KattenMuchinRosenman LLP

Also on the list is Bharara’s predecessor as U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, Michael Garcia.

The other banned Americans include David Addington, who served as Vice President Dick Cheney’s chief of staff and worked closely with Yoo on the legal authorizations for torture; as well as DEA agents involved in the Bout and Yaroshenko cases.

The Magnitsky Act was named for Sergei Magnitsky, an auditor working for a London-based hedge fund who died in prison in 2009 after being arrested in apparent retaliation for his investigation of tax fraud by Russian officials. Magnitsky worked for Hermitage Capital Management, whose Moscow offices were raided in 2007 on tax charges. The American co-founder of Hermitage, William Broward, had lobbied for the Magnitsky law.

After the law’s enactment, Russia halted U.S. adoptions of Russian children.

The Moscow Times has the full list of banned Americans here.

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