Russia puts Hermitage boss Bill Browder on wanted list

Daily Telegraph

The Russian Interior Ministry is seeking an arrest warrant for the British hedge fund boss Bill Browder in a move that will escalate tension between Moscow and America and the UK.

Mr Browder’s company, Hermitage Capital Management, said it had received notice that a Moscow court had been asked to issue a warrant for his arrest “in absentia” for tax evasion. The fund manager is accused of “stealing” shares in Gazprom more than a decade ago and “interfering” with the energy giant’s strategic policies.

However, in an embarrassing twist, the Moscow court judged refused to issue the warrant saying Mr Browder had not been given enough warning. Hermitage said the court will review the request again in a week’s time. It is only the second time Moscow has sought to put a westerner on the international wanted list; the first was a Spanish national embroiled in the Yukos case.

The latest development, which will be seen as an aggressive attack of the Russian state on business, has been condemned as “politically-directed abuse of justice” by Hermitage.

The claim against Mr Browder has been separated from the Interior Ministry’s case against his former employee, Sergei Magnitsky who is currently the subject of the first ever posthumous trial in Russian history.

In a statement today, Hermitage, which was one of the biggest investors in Russia, said that the warrant “follows a coordinated Russian state propaganda campaign in the last three months, where all Kremlin-controlled TV channels, including NTV, Rossiya, and 1TV ran slanderous programs accusing Mr Browder of murders, stealing IMF money in 1998, causing the Russian default, stealing Gazprom shares, and being a UK spy.”

A Hermitage spokesman added: “President Putin treats the law and the truth like a child in a sandbox. There are no rules. There is no law, and he thinks he can do whatever he wants. This may be true in Russia, but it is not true elsewhere in the world.”

Mr Browder, an American-born British citizen, has campaigned for justice for Mr Magnitsky who died in prison where he was detained on controversial charges for a year. The fund manager has been accused of illegally buying shares in Gazprom in contravention of a presidential decree in 1997 which imposed restrictions on foreigners owning the shares.
Hermitage maintains that “the case itself has no legal prospect because there were never any criminal sanctions for owning Gazprom shares.”

Hermitage said: “The Russian Interior Ministry alleges that Hermitage purchased Gazprom shares in order to “interfere” in Gazprom’s policies, gain information on its activities, get elected to the board, and influence the company.

“Indeed, we tried to influence the company so that Gazprom management stopped stealing billions of dollars worth of assets and cash flow. It is amazing that the Russian government never wanted to stop the stealing itself.”
Mr Browder was banned from Russia in 2006. The high-profile case has led to a strain in diplomatic relations between America and Russia. In 2011 Hilary Clinton sanctioned a visa ban for 60 senior Russian officials who Mr Browder had linked to Mr Magnitsky’s death. President Putin signed a law banning Americans from adopting Russian orphans.
Last month Mr Browder said Russia’s President Vladimir Putin “has given an instruction to law enforcement agencies to charge me with any crime they can think up, no matter how spurious or absurd.” hairy women hairy woman https://zp-pdl.com/how-to-get-fast-payday-loan-online.php https://zp-pdl.com/fast-and-easy-payday-loans-online.php займы на карту

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