Magnitsky was himself arrested on charges of collusion to commit tax fraud, and he died in a Moscow pretrial detention center in November 2009, just eight days before he would have either had to be put on trial or released.
Three years later, the United States passed a law bearing Magnitsky's name thattargeted Russian government officials allegedly involved in the original tax crime, as well as those complicit in Magnitsky's death and other alleged human rights abuses.
As of May, there were 44 Russian officials on the Magnitsky sanctions list, including the former head of Russia's Investigative Committee, Aleksandr Bastrykin, and several Interior Ministry officers and tax officials are also on the list. State Duma Deputy Andrei Lugovoi is on the list for his alleged involvement in the 2006 radiation-poisoning death in London of former Federal Security Service officer Aleksandr Litvinenko.
Prosecutors with the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York launched the Prevezon case nearly four years ago, but instead of filing criminal charges they opted for a "civil asset forfeiture" proceeding, where the rules of evidence aren't as strict.
Prevezon portrayed the settlement as a defeat for the U.S. government and said the arrangement did not constitute a seizure or forfeiture on the part of Prevezon.
U.S. officials had repeatedly sought assistance from Russian prosecutors in gathering material for their case. But in Moscow, the Prosecutor-General's Office not only refused to help, but instead asked their U.S. counterparts for help in building a criminal case against Browder.
The Washington law firm initially hired to represent Prevezon, Baker Hostetler, sought repeatedly to undermine the prosecution's case, arguing that it was built largely on Browder's material.
Just days before trial's original start date in January 2016, the judge ordered a delay, after Hermitage argued one of the Baker Hostetler lawyers had provided counsel to Hermitage years prior in the tax fraud case, and therefore had a conflict of interest.
Last week, federal prosecutors won a small pretrial victory when U.S. District Judge William Pauley allowed the introduction of crucial banking files compiled by Nikolai Gorokhov, another Russian lawyer who has represented Magnitsky's widow, as part of the docket record.
Russia has made no secret of its contempt for the Magnitsky Act and the entire narrative that paints a picture of institutionalized high-level Russian corruption.
Several months after then-President Barack Obama signed the legislation into law, the Kremlin retaliated by banning all adoptions of Russian children by U.S. parents. That ban remains in place.
The case rippled quietly through Washington, D.C., more recently.Last year, a Russian-American man named Rinat Akhmetshin, who had worked alongside Baker Hostetler, helped spearhead a quiet lobbying effort to undermine Magnitsky's findings and influence Congress as it sought to pass a broader human rights law modeled on the original Magnitsky law.
Fusion GPS has been linked to the explosive dossier compiled by a former British intelligence officer on President Donald Trump that leaked out during last year's election campaign. Senator Chuck Grassley suggested that some of the anti-Magnitsky lobbying may have been done in violation of the Foreign Agents Registration Act.
He remains hospitalized.