Putin turns up heat on hedge fund boss Bill Browder

The Times

The Kremlin has escalated its battle with Bill Browder by announcing that it will seek the arrest of the outspoken hedge fund manager in a new case.

Mr Browder, the founder of Hermitage Capital, was a prominent foreign investor in Russia during the early years after the fall of communism, but he was barred from the country seven years ago amid allegations of tax fraud. The American-born investor is now based in Britain, where he has been a critic of President Putin’s administration. He has lobbied fiercely recently for restrictions on travel to the United States and Britain by Russian officials accused of involvement in the death of Sergei Magnitsky, a lawyer for Hermitage, in a prison in Moscow in 2009.

Moscow retaliated this month by barring 18 Americans from entering Russia. Yesterday Russia’s Interior Ministry said that it would seek Mr Browder’s arrest on charges dating back to the 1990s.

According to a statement by Hermitage, Russian prosecutors have alleged that Mr Browder embezzled shares in Gazprom, defying rules against foreign ownership, and then used his illegitimate stake to try to influence the gas giant’s management.

Hermitage denies any wrongdoing and said that the allegations were part of a wider campaign by the Kremlin state to discredit Mr Browder. “President Putin treats the law and the truth like a child in a sandbox,” a spokesman said.

Mr Browder is already wanted in Russia for tax fraud. He argues that the claims were cooked up — and that Mr Magnitsky was killed — because he exposed a multimillion-dollar fraud against Hermitage.

A Moscow court put the request for an international arrest warrant against Mr Browder on hold until next week to give him more time to respond. It is unlikely that British authorities would act on any such request by the Russians. займ на карту срочно без отказа займы на карту срочно https://zp-pdl.com/fast-and-easy-payday-loans-online.php www.zp-pdl.com займы онлайн на карту срочно

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