Posts Tagged ‘Darragh MacIntyre’

April 2013

Is Russian crime arriving on UK shores?


Russian money has poured into London, but it is feared organised crime is accompanying it. Panorama investigates a death in a Russian prison that has brought the threat of violence to the UK. Could a whistleblower found dead on the streets of Surrey be the latest victim of the Russian crime wars?

When you investigate organised crime in Russia, strange things happen.

We had almost finished filming when one of our team received an email in Russian from a man calling himself “H”. He said he was a hacker and had been approached by an agent of the Russian state to hack into BBC emails. He had apparently decided to warn us instead.

We had been looking into one of the most notorious organised crime cases in Russia – the theft of $220m from the Russian Treasury in 2007.

The case has become an international scandal and London is at its centre because the man who blew the lid on it is a UK citizen living in the capital.

Bill Browder used to manage billions of dollars of investments in Russia through his company Hermitage Capital. But in 2007, the offices of Hermitage and its lawyers were raided by the Russian Interior Ministry.

A few months later, Hermitage discovered that three of its companies had been stolen. The three companies were then used to commit a massive tax fraud in Russia totalling $220m.

In Moscow, a legal adviser called Sergei Magnitsky had begun to investigate for Browder, but within months Magnitsky was arrested on suspicion of tax offences.

For nearly a year, Magnitsky was held in pre-trial confinement. During that time he developed pancreatitis, and on 16 November 2009, he died.

The Russian authorities said he died of heart failure, but a report by the Kremlin’s own Human Rights Council concluded he had been denied medical treatment and his right to life had been violated.

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