Arrest warrant issued for Magnitsky colleague

A Russian court has ordered the arrest in absentia of an investment executive who was a colleague of a lawyer who died from neglect in prison amid a controversial tax-evasion case.

The arrest order Wednesday for Ivan Cherkasov, now living in Britain, adds new complications to a long-running case highlighting Russian corruption.

Cherkasov is charged with evading some 2 billion rubles in taxes in 2006 as head of the Russian branch of the investment company Hermitage Capital Management.

Lawyer Sergei Magnitsky died in prison in 2009 after being charged with tax evasion linked to his defense of Hermitage.

Magnitsky died of pancreatitis that was left untreated in custody. The case is being scrutinized as a barometer of President Dmitry Medvedev's commitment to the rule of law.