Russia drops probe into whistleblowing lawyer's death

Russian investigators on Tuesday dropped their investigation into the 2009 death in jail of a whistleblowing attorney whose case led to a crisis in relations between Russia and the United States.

The investigators said in a statement they had no evidence that Sergei Magnitsky died from custodians' beatings at the age of 37 as his family and former US-born employer Bill Browder claim.

"Based on the preliminary investigation's results, a decision was taken to end the criminal case due to a lack of evidence of a crime," the Investigative Committee said.

Magnitsky is currently facing a posthumous trial -- Russia's first -- along with Browder into alleged tax evasion.

The Russian lawyer was jailed shortly after disclosing an alleged $230-million fraud scheme being run by senior tax and law enforcement authorities.

An attorney for Magnitsky's mother said he intended to appeal the decision in court.