Russia ban FIFA investigator from entering country

Michael J Garcia, Chairman of the investigatory chamber of the FIFA Ethics Committee, gestures during a press conference at the FIFA's headquarter on July 27, 2012
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Russian authorities will not let FIFA's chief investigator Michael Garcia into the country due to his involvement in the prosecution of Viktor Bout, who they believe is a political prisoner in the United States.

Russian authorities have banned FIFA's chief investigator Michael Garcia from entering the country as he looks into the voting procedures for the 2018 and 2022 World Cup ballots.

The American - a former US federal prosecutor - plans to visit every country involved in the vote, beginning in London on October 9, in order to gather evidence.

However, his involvement in the prosecution of Viktor Bout means that his name is one of many Americans on Moscow's "Guantanamo List", devised in response to a blacklist of 18 Russians barred from stepping foot on US soil.

Washington issued the list amid the controversy surrounding the death of lawyer Sergei Magnitsky, who they believe was the victim of human rights abuses after making allegations of fraud against his nation's state and officials.

Bout is currently serving a 25-year sentence on suspicion of arms trafficking, although the Russians believe that his arrest was politically motivated.

They also claim that the American are torturing inmates in their prisons.

"Let there be no doubt, we intend to react firmly to unfriendly attacks and unceremonious infringements on the rights of Russian citizens," read a statement from Russia's Foreign Ministry.

"Anyone who is involved in such things should think hard.

"Questions arising in connection with visa blacklists should be addressed to the initiators and executors of the extraterritorial and discriminatory 'Magnitsky Act', which contradicts norms of international law."

The vote for the 2018 and 2022 World Cup hosts took place on December 2, 2010.

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