Magnitsky investigator denies involvement in death

By the Associated Press | December 8, 2011 | 8:05 AM EST

MOSCOW (AP) — An investigator has denied any role in the death of ailing lawyer Sergei Magnitsky while he was imprisoned in a Moscow jail for tax evasion.

Oleg Silchenko, a senior investigator at the Interior Ministry's Investigative Department, made his first public appearance at a news conference Thursday.

Magnitsky was imprisoned in 2008 and died of untreated pancreatitis in Nov. 2009. His family blame Silchenko for his continued detention.

Grilled by reporters, Silchenko said he had no powers to recommend the ailing lawyer for extra medical treatment and believed Magnitsky could have pressured witnesses if released.

Silchenko is top of a list of dozens of Russian officials barred by the United States from entering the country for his alleged role in the death.