British tycoon William Browder fears extradition to Russia

The Times

A British businessman is facing extradition from the UK to Russia after Moscow issued a request for an Interpol “blue notice” to locate and arrest him.

William Browder, a US-born businessman based in London who is campaigning against Russian officials implicated in the death of Sergei Magnitsky, his former lawyer, said the warrant meant that he risked being sent to Russia, tortured and killed if he were to travel anywhere in the world.

The move came to light on a day in which President Putin’s use of the courts to constrain freedom of speech was highlighted, with the Levada Centre, Russia’s only independent polling organisation, saying that it might have to close because of legal harassment.

Human rights organisations detect similar political motivation behind a crackdown on NGOs in Russia.
Mr Browder’s London-based company, Hermitage Capital Management, was one of the largest foreign investors in Russia from the mid 1990s until it became the victim of a massive tax fraud in 2007. He hired Mr Magnitsky to investigate.

The lawyer concluded that officials from the Russian Interior Ministry had colluded with police and organised criminals in a $230 million (£150 million) scam, but Mr Magnitsky was then arrested and accused of the fraud that he had apparently exposed.

In March he was posthumously put on trial, having died while in pre-trial detention. Mr Browder was named as an absent co-defendant.

Mr Browder said that Russia had now formally requested Interpol to lodge an “All Points Bulletin” to locate him. The organisation’s oversight committee, the Commission for the Control of Interpol’s files, will rule on the application this week.

Last night he said: “This international search warrant puts me at risk of travelling anywhere in the world. I could be arrested, then sent back to Russia and tortured and killed in prison like Sergei Magnitsky. It is clearly intended to cripple my campaign.”

Jago Russell, the chief executive of Fair Trials International said that Interpol alerts could be “a valuable crime-fighting tool, but Interpol is also open to abuse by countries who are even using its global network to persecute recognised political refugees.”

Denis Krivosheev, from Amnesty International, raised concerns that laws that which force NGOs to registers as “foreign agents” if they receive foreign funding and allegedly participate in “political activity”, may result in criminal prosecutions.

Lev Gudkov, director of the Levada Centre, said that prosecutors had targeted his organisation under the laws. The Moscow prosecutor’s office claimed in a warning letter that Levada engaged in political activity because it publishes the results of polls on political subjects and “forms public opinion about government policy in Russia”.

Meanwhile, the trial started yesterday in Moscow of Alexander Lebedev, the businessman whose son Evgeny owns the Evening Standard and The Independent newspapers in the UK. He pleaded not guilty to hooliganism and assault based on “political hatred” and faces up to five years in jail if convicted.
Mr Lebedev says the case has been brought in revenge for his criticism of President Putin’s government. срочный займ на карту онлайн buy over the counter medicines www.zp-pdl.com https://zp-pdl.com/get-a-next-business-day-payday-loan.php микрозайм онлайн

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