News

Putin’s Hard Turn: Ruling Russian in Leaner Times

Posted by Red Notice on 28 Apr 2015 | 0 comments

by Joshua Yaffa for Foreign Affairs, May/June 2015

For many who arrived in Moscow in recent decades, the city had an almost narcotic effect. In the vacuum created by the Soviet collapse, unabashed opportunism and a limitless sense of the possible became the closest thing the wounded country had to a collective ideology. There were few consequences and everything was pretend—except, of course, for the massive sums of money. And as long as Russia, after Vladimir Putin took power in 2000, kept up its winking nod toward modernization and democracy, it was easy enough to play along without too much of a drag on your conscience.

The author, Bill Browder, may be Russian President Vladimir Putin’s No. 1 foe. For the past several years the British-American investor has led an international campaign to expose deep corruption and human-rights abuses in Putin’s Russia. His efforts culminated with the 2012 passage of the Magnitisky Act, which forbids “gross abusers” of rights in Russia from banking in or visiting the United States It’s named after Browder’s lawyer Sergei Magnitisky, a whistleblower who was murdered in a Moscow prison in 2009 after uncovering massive Russian government fraud.


Excerpt by Bill Browder for LinkedIn, 15th March 2015

Bill Browder: why I fear for my life

Posted by Red Notice on 11 Mar 2015 | 0 comments

"Greatest capitalist in the world" turned human rights campaigner, Bill Browder is fighting for justice for a Russian friend whose murder he blames on the Kremlin

By Ted R. Bromund, The Weekly Standard, 2nd March 2015

In Chechnya, Georgia, and Ukraine, Russia works through bribery, fear, and force to destroy its opponents. In the West, it works through Interpol and the U.S. Treasury. If Moscow decides to target you, being in the United States won’t protect you from Russian harassment. In fact, it makes you a better victim.

How I Became Putin's Number One Enemy

Posted by Red Notice on 20 Feb 2015 | 0 comments

By Bill Browder for Random House’s Dead Good Books Newsletter, 20th February 2015

How do you rebel if you’re born into a family of American communists and academics?

By becoming a capitalist.

And what does it take for that capitalist to change his whole life in a second, to abandon business and high-stakes investment for the life of a human rights’ campaigner?

            Murder.

Putting the Bad Guys on Ice

Posted by Red Notice on 19 Feb 2015 | 0 comments

Putting the Bad Guys on Ice

 

Asset freezes and travel bans are cost-effective tools for punishing human-rights abusers.  Why not use them more often?

 

Op-ed by William Browder for Bloomberg BusinessWeek, 19th February 2015

Why Putin is even less of a human than Stalin was

Posted by Red Notice on 19 Feb 2015 | 0 comments

By Adam Sweeting, The Spectator, 21st February 2015

 

LBC likes to tell us it’s ‘Leading Britain’s Conversation’, though in the case of weekday pre-lunch presenter James O’Brien you’ll have to sit through a series of bombastic monologues from the host before any punters get a word in edgeways. O’Brien knows everything, and he doesn’t mind telling you. Still, I understand that running a talk show is no job for timid introverts who might burst into tears if callers start giving them a hard time. The trick is pretending to listen sympathetically while being ready to drop the guillotine without compunction (after all, these people aren’t your friends, they’re just statistics for the business plan). Anyway, after last Thursday’s programme I could forgive O’Brien a lot, even the number of times he says ‘if you will’, though largely because he’d brought a guest into the studio.

A businessman learns from a bad investment in Putin

Posted by Red Notice on 15 Feb 2015 | 0 comments

By Jackson Diehl, Washington Post, 15th February 2015

I first met Bill Browder when he came to tell The Post’s editorial board that its criticism of Vladi­mir Putin was all wrong. It was the early 2000s, and Putin was persecuting independent media and their owners and flattening the republic of Chechnya. Browder, then the head of the largest Western investment fund in Russia, argued that we were missing the fact that Putin was a reformer who was replacing Russia’s post-Soviet chaos with liberal capitalism and the rule of law.

Browder was drastically — and, in the end, tragically — wrong. In 2005, Putin turned on him, and he was banned from Russia. Then his companies were seized and used by corrupt officials to steal $230 million in tax receipts. When a young lawyer hired by Browder exposed the scheme, he was arrested by those same officials and so brutally mistreated that he died in his prison cell.

  • ·      Sergei Magnitsky died in November 2009 after 358 days in Russian prison
  • ·      Wrote daily letters about beatings but treatment was never investigated
  • ·      His friend William Browder successfully campaigned for Magnitsky Act - placing travel bans on Russian human rights abusers
  • ·      In return Vladimir Putin tried him for Magnitsky's murder in his absence
  • ·      Russians also tried Magnitsky - first dead man to be tried since 897AD
  • ·      Mr Browder says it is possible Russian regime is trying to kill him

Extract by Bill Browder for the Mail on Sunday, 8th February 2015

Tales of Russia’s First Activist Investor

Posted by Red Notice on 07 Feb 2015 | 0 comments

By Bill Alpert, Barron’s, 7th February 2015

The founder of The Hermitage Fund made, lost, and made a fortune investing in Russia. Then he learned the truth about doing business in Moscow.

Bill Browder, a grandson of the onetime leader of the American Communist Party, embraced capitalism and ran the largest hedge fund in Russia—until officials there allegedly took control of his firm in 2007 for the purpose of stealing a quarter of a billion dollars from the Russian treasury. When Browder’s lawyer, Sergei Magnitsky, reported the theft, Magnitsky was arrested by the same officials he’d claimed had stolen the money. After Magnitsky died in prison, Browder turned from hedge-fund hustling to human-rights campaigning, as he describes in his new book, Red Notice. Here, he shares his views on Russia’s current economic and geopolitical plight.

Some call him Vladimir Putin's enemy number one. Bill Browder set up a massively successful investment fund in Russia, then discovered that government officials had ripped him off to the tune of more than $200 million. He left, but one of his lawyers, Sergei Magnitsky, was seized and jailed. And not just jailed, but beaten to death.

Transcription of Interview on PM with Mark Colvin, ABC News Australia, 6th February 2015

By William Browder, Politico, February 3rd 2015

It was 7:45 a.m. on Nov. 17, 2009, when my phone rang. It was my lawyer, Eduard, who had a horrible message to relay: “Bill, Sergei is dead.”

Sergei Magnitsky was one of my lawyers in Russia. He’d been arrested and detained in Moscow for nearly a year after exposing Russian government corruption. I knew that he had been mistreated, but the fact that he’d been killed was beyond my worst nightmare.

A Russian Nightmare

Posted by Red Notice on 05 Feb 2015 | 0 comments

By Sam Dale, HFM Week, 5-11th February 2015

Hedge fund manager turned human rights campaigner Bill Browder wanrs that too few managers factor in physical risk alongside financial calculations

Bill Browder has been talking for almost half an hour about an ordeal that has turned him from high-profile hedge fund manager to human rights activist. In an interview with HFMWeek, the 50-year-old American-born British citizen explains how he has become, in his view, one of Russian president Vladimir Putin’s biggest enemies.

by Julia LaRoche, Business Insider, 3rd February 2015

Hedge fund manager William "Bill" Browder was once the largest foreign investor in Russia, making his investors piles of money, but if he had to do it all over again, he never would have entered the country in the first place.

"I now understand how completely naive I was to think that as a foreigner I was somehow immune to the barbarity of the Russian system," Browder said.

Moneyweek, 2nd February 2015

Bill Browder’s chilling memoir is anything but fantasy

Much of Bill Browder’s new book, Red Notice, “reads like a detective novel”, says Luke Harding in The Guardian. But while stranger than fiction in many parts, his chilling memoir is anything but fantasy. The fund manager, who reinvented himself as an anti-Putin campaigner following the death of his lawyer in a Russian jail, is on permanent alert for danger.


by Olivia Ward, Toronto Star, 31 January 2015

Bill Browder was a Red Diaper baby whose grandfather was a leader of the American Communist Party. But when he rebelled by investing in Russia's capitalist revolution, he found himself in the black - both financially and personally.

On February 3rd 2015, Bill Browder, CEO and founder of Hermitage Capital Management, launches an explosive book about Russia entitled “Red Notice: A true story of High Finance, Murder, and One Man’s Fight for Justice” (UK edition: “Red Notice, How I Became Putin's Number One Enemy” published on 5th February.)

“Red Notice” will be published in 14 countries, but has so far been blocked by all major Russian publishers.

Bill Browder: the Kremlin threatened to kill me

Posted by Red Notice on 26 Jan 2015 | 0 comments
by Luke Harding, The Guardian

The former banker claims Vladimir Putin runs Russia like a crime syndicate. He should know: corrupt officials seized his assets and stole $230m. His lawyer was beaten to death in jail. And now sinister text messages warn he might be next

  • Tycoon Bill Browder crossed Putin's henchmen after moving to Russia
  • He escaped to London, but his colleague Sergei Magnitsky stayed behind 
  • Magnitsky was arrested and held in hellish prisons on trumped-up charges
  • But he refused to break, eventually falling seriously ill in a squalid cell
  • Browder received a horrifying voicemail of his colleague being beaten
  • Magnitsky died after eight riot guards beat him to death with rubber batons
Extract of Red Notice, by Bill Browder for the Mail on Sunday



Commentary by Bill Browder, Fortune Magazine

One thousand dollars invested in Russia today will be worth a lot less in five years.

Putin Plays Hardball

Posted by Red Notice on 27 Nov 2014 | 0 comments
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 th...
Bill Browder is a self-confessed black sheep. Not a mild-mannered ruminant, shyly chewing the cud alone in the corner of the field, but one of the most angry and driven minority-hedge-fund sheep going. Angry, he may be, but he's no shouter. Browder, 50, who 10 years ago with $4.5bn under management, was the largest single foreign investor in Russ...

U.S. Imposes New Sanctions on 12 Russians

Posted by Red Notice on 27 Nov 2014 | 0 comments
WASHINGTON — The Obama administration on Tuesday leveled sanctions against 12 Russians for human rights abuses including the detention and death of a celebrated lawyer who the United States says sought to expose fraud by Russian officials. The sanctions were announced under a 2012 law named for the lawyer, Sergei L. Magnitsky, who died in detentio...
The Obama administration on Tuesday accused Russian doctors, prison officials and others of complicity in the death of a lawyer whose case has come to symbolize human rights abuses in Russia, reversing course after earlier declining to apply new sanctions for fear of angering the Kremlin. Read the full article Source: Washington Post, 20 May 2014...

The Man Who Stood Up to Putin

Posted by Red Notice on 27 Nov 2014 | 0 comments
Two members of the Russian punk band Pussy Riot hit Capitol Hill this week. Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and Maria Alyokhina, who were jailed for nearly two years after performing an anti-Kremlin "punk prayer" in a Moscow cathedral in 2012, charmed senators and called for stronger U.S. sanctions on Russia. Making the introductions was a bald, 50-year-old...
The European Parliament has urged EU governments to impose sanctions on 32 Russian officials over the death of a lawyer, Sergei Magnitsky. The parliament's resolution calls for visa bans and asset freezes - measures that the US has already imposed. Read the full article Source: BBC News, 3 April 2014

MEPs adopt ‘Magnitsky’ list visa ban

Posted by Red Notice on 27 Nov 2014 | 0 comments
The European Parliament passed a resolution yesterday (2 April) establishing a list of Russian officials responsible for the death of a Russian attorney in prison. The ‘Magnitsky List” proposes an EU-wide visa ban and a freeze of EU assets of 32 Russian citizens. Read the full article Source: Euractiv, 3 April 2014

PACE Threatens European Magnitsky Act

Posted by Red Notice on 27 Nov 2014 | 0 comments
The Parliamentary Assembly for the Council of Europe, or PACE, voted overwhelmingly on Tuesday to approve a resolution critical of Russia for its handling of the investigation into the death of Sergei Magnitsky, over the fierce objections of Russian lawmakers present for the vote. By adopting the resolution, which was titled "Refusing Impunity for...
Russian investigators have opened a second posthumous criminal investigation into the whistleblower lawyer Sergei Magnitsky who exposed an alleged £140m fraud by Moscow tax officials, it was claimed. Read the full article Source: Independent, 13 January 2014

Man On A Mission: Bill Browder vs. the Kremlin

Posted by Red Notice on 27 Nov 2014 | 0 comments
“There, but for an accident of geography, stands a corpse!” thundered Max Shachtman—once known as Leon Trotsky’s “foreign minister”—in New York City in 1950. By popular account, the line had been cooked up that night by a young Shachtmanite named Irving Howe; it ended the debate between the anti-Stalinist socialist Schachtman and his opponent, Earl...
Bill Browder is a man on a mission. “I want to change Russia and change human rights advocacy in Russia in a profound way,” the hedge fund millionaire says with almost messianic zeal, in his sparsely furnished offices in London’s Golden Square. It is, safe to say, an unusual ambition for a successful financier with $1bn of assets under management....

Crime and Punishment in Putin's Russia

Posted by Red Notice on 27 Nov 2014 | 0 comments
Russian police say they have closed the case file on the country's largest tax fraud. It occurred on December 24 in 2007, when Moscow tax officials approved a same-day refund of 5.4 billion rubles -- or $230 million -- to a gang masquerading as officers of Hermitage Capital, once the largest hedge-fund manager in Russia and founded by financiers Ed...
Vladimir Putin is still trying to use Interpol to arrest a British banker. If the organisation is to have any credibility, it must throw the case out Ron Noble, the Secretary General of Interpol, is due to step down at the end of this year. He leaves office with a dismal record of having allowed the international crime-busting organisation to coll...

They Killed My Lawyer

Posted by Red Notice on 01 Oct 2014 | 0 comments
My Lawyer

Sergei Magnitsky was our attorney, and friend, who died under excruciating circumstances in a Moscow pre-trial detention center on Nov 16, 2009. His story is one of extraordinary bravery and heroism, and ultimately tragedy. It is also a story about how Stalinism and the gulags are alive and well in Russia today.

The Magnitsky law

Posted by Red Notice on 27 Jul 2012 | 0 comments
After Sergei Magnitsky was beaten to death in a Moscow jail for uncovering fraud by Russian authorities, investor Bill Browder devoted himself to publicising the case. As a result, the US is close to passing a dramatic human rights law Read the full article Source: The Financial Times, 27 July 2012