Posts Tagged ‘Antony White QC’

October 2013

UK judge throws out libel case against Bill Browder

Financial Times

A High Court judge has thrown out a libel lawsuit brought by a Russian former policeman against Bill Browder, the UK-based fund manager behind the US Magnitsky Act.

Mr Browder had become a hate figure for the Russian leadership after lobbying Congress to adopt the Magnitsky law last year. The law imposed sanctions on Russians allegedly involved in a $230m fraud and the death in custody of Sergei Magnitsky, a lawyer Mr Browder had employed to investigate it.

The defamation case had been brought in London by ex-policeman Pavel Karpov, who was attempting to sue over allegations on a campaigning website run by Mr Browder.

Magnitsky died in a Russian jail four years ago but he was convicted of tax evasion this year in a posthumous trial in Russia that drew widespread criticism in the west.

Mr Browder’s lawyers had applied to the High Court to have Mr Karpov’s lawsuit struck out before trial.
On Monday Mr Justice Simon did just that, ruling Mr Karpov “cannot establish a reputation within this jurisdiction” to bring the lawsuit.

The judge said Mr Karpov’s connection with Britain is “exiguous” and Russia rather was “the natural forum” to bring the lawsuit as the “connection with [the UK] is limited”.

Mr Browder’s campaign had accused Mr Karpov of being involved both in the fraud and of being among police who arranged for Magnitsky’s arrest and alleged torture in jail. Mr Karpov’s libel writ said those claims were false.

The judge’s decision is significant because it underscores the growing challenge to people with only a weak link to London bringing libel claims there.

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