Elaine Byrne: We need our own Magnitsky Act to hit Russian oligarchs where it hurts

It took a war for our politicians to consider sanctioning Russian oligarchs, despite almost a decade of campaigning by American businessman Bill Browder

Bill Browder, Hermitage Capital’s chief executive, has worked to bring a Magnitsky Act to Ireland, not least because he believes part of the $230 million scam uncovered by Sergei Magnitsky flowed through Ireland. Over a dozen countries, including Canada and several EU countries, have Magnitsky Acts. Picture: Getty

Sergei Magnitsky, a Russian tax lawyer, was murdered in a Moscow prison in 2009. His “crime” was uncovering a $230 million tax scam by influential Russian government officials which involved fraudulently stealing three companies belonging to Hermitage Capital, a global asset management firm. He was tortured for a year while in detention.

Bill Browder, Hermitage’s chief executive, testified to the Oireachtas foreign affairs committee in 2013 that “eight riot guards with rubber batons beat him ...