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Lawyer for Russian whistleblower's family falls out of apartment building before court date

The lawyer of a Russian whistleblower's family was seriously injured under alarming circumstances
The lawyer of a Russian whistleblower's family was seriously injured under alarming circumstances

Nikolai Gorokhov, a lawyer representing the family of a Russian whistleblower, was reportedly thrown out of the fourth floor of his Moscow apartment building on Tuesday — a day before the 53-year-old was due to appear in court regarding a contentious corruption case.

According to a news release from a website linked to the lawyer's spokesman, Bill Browder, Gorokhov had severe head injuries and was hospitalized in the intensive care unit of Botkin hospital. The release indicated he was in critical condition.

Some reports indicated that Russian media outlets had claimed Gorokhov's fall was an accident related to moving a Jacuzzi, but CNBC could not immediately confirm.

Gorokhov was working to launch a probe into the death of Sergei Magnitsky, a lawyer who died in prison in 2009 after claiming that organized criminals colluded with Russian government officials to claim a fraudulent $230 million tax rebate.

At the time of his findings, Magnitsky was working for Hermitage Capital Management under Browder, an American-born hedge fund boss and human rights activist who was an alleged victim in the scheme. He launched an international justice campaign following Magnitsky's death, which many activists believe was a result of abuse under police custody.

Journalists sit next to the empty defendant's cage in the Tverskoy district court of Moscow on March 27, 2013, during a hearing in the posthumous trial of lawyer Sergei Magnitsky for tax evasion, days after Russia closed a probe into the circumstances of his prison

Timing of Gorokhov's accident

On March 22, Gorokhov was scheduled to appear in front of the Moscow City Appeals Court to argue against the Tverskoi District Court's refusal to consider a new criminal complaint filed by Magnitsky's mother in regards to new evidence, Tuesday's press release said.

A series of electronic communications, known as the Pavlov Leaks, had been uncovered and it showed collusion of individuals responsible for the fraud case that Magnitsky uncovered, the release alleged. Members of the Klyuev crime syndicate and police officers were involved, the release claimed.

Gorokhov is also a key witness in the U.S. government's case against Prevezon Holdings, a Cyprus company owned by Denis Katsyv, son of senior Russian official Petr Katsyv, the release said. The trial, scheduled to begin on May 15th, is in relation to Prevezon's alleged money laundering that Magnitsky discovered, the release continued.

Former New York attorney Attorney Preet Bharara was handling the Prevezon affair before President Donald Trump fired him.

The Magnitsky case has drawn international attention towards Russian corruption and has been the source of inspiration for tighter human rights regulations in the West.

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Correction: This article has been updated to accurately reflect the most recent updates about Gorokhov's condition.