Russian lawyer set for tax evasion trial despite 2009 death

The trial of whistle-blowing Russian lawyer Sergei Magnitsky is to begin next month, even though he died in prison three years ago.

A Russian court on Monday ruled the trial is to begin March 4. Prosecutors accuse Magnitsky and his former client, investor William Browder, of evading $16.8 million in taxes.

The trial will be held under procedures allowing posthumous trials to clear the deceased. Magnitsky's relatives are boycotting proceedings.

Magnitsky was jailed in 2008 by officials he claimed colluded with organized crime to claim a $230 million tax rebate through illegally obtained subsidiaries of Browder's company. He died in 2009 after being repeatedly beaten and denied medical treatment.

Congress passed a law sanctioning officials Browder accuses of involvement in the fraud. Russia in response banned adoptions by Americans.