Posts Tagged ‘browder’

18
November 2015

Boris and Sergei Believed in a Brighter Future for Russia

Boris Nemtsov, the Russian politician, was assassinated near the Kremlin on 27 February 2015.

Sergei Magnitsky, a Russian lawyer, uncovered the largest publicly-known corruption case in Russia involving the theft of $230 million, testified about it naming complicit officials. Sergei was arrested by some of the implicated officials, held for 358 days in pre-trial detention in torturous conditions, and killed in Russian police custody on 16 November 2009.

On the 6th anniversary of Sergei Magnitsky’s murder, 16 November 2015, the Sergei Magnitsky Human Rights Awards were launched. The first Sergei Magnitsky Award for Campaigning for Democracy was awarded posthumously to Boris Nemtsov.


Statement by Bill Browder on the Sergei Magnitsky 2015 Human Rights Award for Democracy to Boris Nemtsov (presented posthumously)

Bill Browder, author of ‘Red Notice’

Boris Nemtsov was a courageous man, and a true friend of the Magnitsky Justice campaign. He was a steadfast supporter of our initiative to impose targeted Western sanctions on Russian officials involved in human rights abuse and corruption.

Boris shamed weak Western diplomats who tried to appease the Russian leader, because he was convinced that the sanctions are the necessary, effective and morally right way to stand up to Russian official impunity.

Both Boris and Sergei were optimists and believed in a brighter future for Russia. They show us that Russia produces great people with humanity and integrity.

Their loss is a tragedy for Russia and the world.

The fact that both were killed in cold blood, and in both cases those responsible have not been brought to account, is the call for action.

We cannot bring Boris and Sergei back, but we owe it to them to carry on with our cause, to seek justice in the form of further Magnitsky sanctions on corrupt officials and human rights violators by countries around the world.

#magnitskyawards
billbrowder.com
www.facebook.com/russianuntouchables

‘Red Notice’

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15
November 2015

US Criticizes Russian Justice on Lawyer Death Anniversary

Global Post. Agence France-Presse on Nov 13, 2015 @ 9:24 PM

The United States lamented Russia’s failure Friday to punish those responsible for the death of lawyer Sergei Magnitsky, on the sixth anniversary of his murky demise in a Moscow jail.

Magnitsky died aged 37 after trying to expose the alleged embezzlement from investment fund Hermitage Capital of $230 million by figures linked to Russian political circles.

He was arrested in 2008 and died in prison in 2009 of an untreated illness that Russia’s own presidential human rights council said was “provoked by beating.”

The wider Hermitage case is now a notorious international scandal, but six years later no-one in Russia has been held to account for Magnitsky’s death.

“The anniversary of Sergei Magnitsky’s death is a reminder of the human cost of injustice,” US State Department deputy spokesman Mark Toner said.

“Those responsible for his unjust imprisonment and wrongful death remain free, despite widely publicized and credible evidence of their guilt,” he said.

“We salute Sergei Magnitsky’s memory and those who work to uncover corruption and promote human rights in Russia, despite official intimidation and harassment.

“We will continue to fully support the efforts of those who seek to bring these individuals to justice, including through implementation of the Sergei Magnitsky Rule of Law Accountability Act of 2012.”

The Magnitsky Act targets named Russian individuals accused of a role in the Hermitage scandal, prohibiting them from traveling to the United States or using US banks.

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12
November 2015

Launch of Sergei Magnitsky Human Rights Awards

 

On the eve of the 6th anniversary of the murder of Russian anti-corruption lawyer Sergei Magnitsky, the Justice for Sergei Magnitsky campaign is launching the ‘Sergei Magnitsky Human Rights Awards.’

The awards will celebrate international politicians, journalists and civil society activists who have worked in the spirit of Sergei Magnitsky — with faith, strength and integrity, to reinforce and advance his legacy, and bring about significant change in the international justice and human rights field.

The winners of the 2015 Sergei Magnitsky Human Rights Awards will be announced next week, on Monday, 16 November 2015, marking the 6th anniversary of Sergei Magnitsky’s death in Russian police custody at the age of 37.

The organising committee of the Global Sergei Magnitsky Human Rights Awards this year consists of activists from major international organizations, including Transparency International, The Henry Jackson Society, Fair Trials International, the Central and Eastern European Council of Canada, and the British Parliament’s All-Party Group on Anti-Corruption.

The Sergei Magnitsky Human Rights Awards will be given in 9 categories, including Outstanding Investigative Journalism; Top Campaigning US Politician, Top European Politician; Best Human Rights NGO; Outstanding Contribution to the Global Magnitsky Campaign; Outstanding Coverage of Magnitsky Case in Britain and in Europe; the Best Human Rights Lawyer; and the Top Campaigner for Democracy.

“Sergei Magnitsky’s impact on the world has only gained in significance in the years after his death. We hope that the Sergei Magnitsky Human Rights Awards will serve as a beacon of support for all those who fight injustice around the world,” said Sergei Magnitsky’s mother Nataliya.

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28
January 2015

Russian undressing

Fortune Magazine

Investor Bill Browder pulls back the curtain on Putin’s culture of corruption.

The jacket note for Bill Browder’s Red Notice calls it “a real-life thriller about an American-born financier in the Wild East of Russia, the murder of his principled young attorney, and his dangerous mission to expose the people responsible in the Kremlin.”

The description is accurate as far as it goes. Browder’s lawyer, Sergei Magnitsky, uncovered a $230 million fraud perpetrated by Russian government officials against one of Browder’s companies in 2008. He was jailed after disclosing the fraud and subsequently killed while in prison. Browder, who as founder and CEO of Hermitage Capital Management had made and lost billions of dollars in Russia, has devoted himself since Magnitsky’s death to exposing corruption and human rights abuses in Russia. For his efforts, Browder now finds himself subject to extradition to Russia, where the government has convicted him in absentia of tax evasion and sentenced him to nine years in prison.

But that’s only part of the story. The first half of Red Notice traces Browder’s improbable journey from prep-school washout through college, business school, and a series of consulting and Wall Street jobs before becoming Russia’s largest foreign investor.

The son of left-leaning academics and grandson of Earl Browder—the labor organizer and head of the American Communist Party—Bill Browder rebelled by becoming a capitalist. He recounts his early training through a series of pitch-perfect descriptions of J.P. Morgan recruiters, Boston Consulting Group managers, Salomon traders, and dealmakers such as Robert Maxwell, Ron Burkle, and Edmond Safra.

Whether consulting for a Polish bus company, advising a Murmansk fishing fleet, or finding undervalued, newly privatized companies in Russia, Browder encounters real-life opportunities and absurdities that read better than fiction.

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28
January 2015

Putin’s torturers: Blowing the whistle on government cronies who stole Russia’s riches

Mail on Sunday

The riches of the former Soviet Union seemed an incredible opportunity for financiers such as Bill Browder, and so it proved when he moved to the ‘Wild East’ and found he needed bodyguards and armoured cars.

But it was when he crossed the henchmen of Russian president Vladimir Putin that the trouble really started, and Browder was thrown into a terrifying world of state-sanctioned criminality. He survived, but his loyal colleague, Sergei Magnitsky, was to suffer an horrific fate at the hands of the Kremlin’s goons, as Browder recalls in this gripping first extract of his extraordinary new book…

The terrifying message arrived on my voicemail shortly after midnight on November 14, 2009. It had been a trying day. My lawyer, Sergei Magnitsky, was being held in a hellish Russian prison on trumped-up tax-evasion charges, and he had endured another tortuous day in court.

Sergei was seriously ill with pancreatitis and gallstones, but the police were unsympathetic and had chained him to a radiator in a corridor at the court building. When he finally entered the courtroom itself, the judge treated him with equal contempt, dismissing every one of his complaints about the mistreatment he’d endured for months.

I was a world away in London, but I was desperately worried. Another Russian lawyer of mine, who was safe with me in the UK, had recently received a series of menacing texts. ‘What’s worse, prison or death?’ one said. Another was a quote from The Godfather: ‘History has taught us that you can kill anyone.’

I’d shared these with officers from Scotland Yard’s anti-terrorism unit, who traced the texts to an unregistered number in Russia. This was very disturbing. The only people with access to unregistered Russian numbers were the secret police, the FSB (Federal Security Service of the Russian Federation), who’d been after me for years. The FSB doesn’t just issue arrest warrants and extradition requests – it dispatches assassins.

But the message I received late that November night was worse than any that had come before. When I listened to that voicemail, I heard a man in the midst of a savage beating. He was screaming and pleading. The recording lasted two minutes and cut off mid-wail. I called everyone I knew. They were all OK. The only person I couldn’t call was Sergei…
Before all these problems in Russia, I was the founder and chief executive of Hermitage Capital Management, the largest investment advisory firm in the Russian stock market. I had left a safe job in the City of London and relocated to Moscow in 1996, when Russia was nicknamed the Wild East.

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12
January 2015

Revealed: Ed Miliband’s dinner with George and Amal Clooney

Daily Telegraph

Ed Miliband shared an intimate dinner with George Clooney and his wife Amal, a human rights lawyer, to discuss fresh sanctions on Vladimir Putin’s regime, The Telegraph can disclose.

Mr Miliband is now considering plans to block a ring of Russian judges and tax officials from entering Britain after discussing the proposals at a dinner with the Clooneys at the London mansion of a leading barrister.
The Labour leader was briefed on proposals to implement a “Magnitsky law” over a private meal with the Hollywood actor and his wife, Amal, the human rights lawyer.

Sergei Magnitsky was a Russian accountant who died after months of brutal beatings in prison after blowing the whistle on a vast fraud perpetrated by corrupt state officials against a Guernsey-based investment fund.

Under measures adopted by the United States, 34 police chiefs, judges and tax officials involved in Mr Magnitsky’s prosecution and death are banned from entering the country.

Campaigners now want to see similar measures imposed in Britain, which could be brought into law as an amendment to Theresa May’s Serious Crime Bill. The proposals are backed by a group of Labour and Tory backbench MPs.

Any amendment would have a far greater chance of success with the Labour leader’s support.
Mr Miliband was briefed on the campaign over dinner at the London home of Geoffrey Robertson QC, the human rights barrister who is campaigning for a Magnitsky Law in Britain.

Mrs Clooney is a barrister at Mr Robertson’s chambers, Doughty Street, and has represented clients at the International Criminal Court.
Bill Browder, whose firm Hermitage Capital Management was the victim of the £150 million fraud after being raided by Russian police, explained the details of the case to the Labour leader.

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07
January 2015

Russia Leverages Western Courts To Chase Wealthy Fugitives

Radio Free Europe

On a balmy morning in August, Janna Bullock steered a light-blue convertible into the driveway of her oceanfront mansion in the swanky hamlet of Southampton on New York’s Atlantic Coast. Waiting for her was a man bearing a stack of documents.

Bullock, a prominent Manhattan-based real estate tycoon and socialite, accelerated toward the house, hopped out of the car and hustled for the door. The man gave chase and touched her with the documents, saying she’d been served with legal papers, according to a U.S. federal court affidavit.

The documents, part of a civil action lodged against Bullock by state-owned Russian banking giant Gazprombank, fell to the steps in front of the sprawling home and remained there as Bullock sequestered herself inside.

From the gilded shores of the Hamptons and the French Riviera to the London stomping grounds of the super-rich, Russia is pursuing ex-officials and entrepreneurs like Bullock who amassed wealth in Russia and then fled the country after falling afoul of powerful officials.

And despite Moscow’s chilled relations with the West over the Ukraine crisis, these efforts in recent months have yielded several favorable rulings for Russia in U.S. and European courts.

The targets of these legal campaigns claim they are victims of a corrupt Russian state, though some critics say they are merely assuming the mantle of political refugees to protect illicit gains purloined in murky business dealings.

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28
November 2014

Cameron Gets Tough With a Pick-Up Artist, But Not Putin’s Put-to-Death Artists

Huffington Post

In a show of strength and leadership British Ministers have taken tough action against someone who is clearly a major threat to British national interests. The government has imposed a ban on entering into Britain of an American called Julien Blanc. But as he gets tough with a fellow citizen of President Obama, David Cameron remains resolutely aligned with President Putin’s view that his fellow citizens should not face similar sanctions to that imposed on Julien Blanc.

Blanc is an absurd sexist self-publicist who describes himself as a ‘pick-up artist.’ Britain is probably better off without his presence but in the same week, MPs of all parties gathered to commemorate the fifth anniversary of the killing of a British employed tax lawyer, Sergei Magnitsky. He died in agony on a Moscow prison floor five years after 12 months of being brutally treated by state officials working for President Putin.

The MPs are still waiting for David Cameron to take any action against those named as linked to his death.

Magnitsky was employed by a British firm, Hermitage Capital, to investigate the disappearance of $230 million which Hermitage paid in tax to the Russian equivalent of HMRC. He found the money had been diverted into the accounts of Putin’s tax police who are at the heart of corrupt business-political nexus that enriches politicians and favoured state functionaries.

The young father of two persisted in his demands that the money be accounted for. He was arrested, thrown into prison, and tortured to try and persuade him to drop the case. He refused and was then he was so badly treated he died.

Magnitsky’s employer, Bill Browder, an American born British citizen was so outraged he used his firm’s considerable resources to track down those responsible for his employee’s death and find out where they had bank accounts or assets overseas.

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19
November 2014

Putin Plays Hardball

New York Times

This week marks the fifth anniversary of Sergei Magnitsky’s death in a Russian prison. He was 37 years old, a member of the emerging middle class who worked as a lawyer for a man named Bill Browder, the leader of the largest Russia-only investment firm in the world. Browder’s company, Hermitage Capital Management, started with $25 million during the Wild West-era of early Russian capitalism and had $4.5 billion in assets by the early 2000s.

Over time, Browder became an activist investor of sorts, exposing corruption in Russian companies and trying to make Russian capitalism more transparent. In doing so, he thought, he could both steer Russian companies a little closer to the Western model while also making money for his firm.

But, when Vladimir Putin became the president of Russia in 2000, he and his cronies were not interested in corporate transparency. How could they line their pockets if everything was transacted out in the open? So Browder became persona non grata. After a trip to Britain in 2005, he was refused re-entry. A few fictitious documents later, and Hermitage had $1 billion in “liabilities.” Then, a handful of officials involved in a takeover of Hermitage requested — and received within 24 hours! — a $230 million tax refund. It was a textbook example of the kind of corporate pillaging for which the Putin kleptocracy became infamous.

Browder pleaded with Magnitsky to flee the country, as his other lawyers had done. But Magnitsky insisted on investigating — and speaking out about — the fraud that had taken place. For his troubles, he was imprisoned in 2008. By summer of 2009, he had developed pancreatitis, which went untreated despite his pleas. He died that November. Browder says that when he learned of Magnitsky’s death, it was “the worst news I had ever received in my life.”

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