Legal Case of the Week: Bill Browder

posted 18 Apr 2016, 04:20 by Rights in Russia   [ updated 18 Apr 2016, 04:23 ]
On 14 April 2016 the Investigative Committee said it intends to question British-US investor William Browder about the murder of whistle-blower Sergei Magnitsky. The Moscow Times reports that in a letter to the Investigative Committee, former Russian Interior Ministry investigator Pavel Karpov, who is on the U.S. blacklist of Russian officials connected to Magnitsky's death in 2009, suggested that Browder, Magnitsky's employer at the company Hermitage Capital, may have been involved in his death. He also speculated on the involvement of MI6 agents.' 

Earlier in the week, on 10 April 2016, Russian state TV channel Rossia 1 had broadcast the trailer of a film ('The Browder Effect' - the film was broadcast on 13 April 2016) alleging that Aleksei Navalny was the paid agent of Bill Browder. As The Moscow Times reported, Navalny said he would file a lawsuit against the state-owned TV company (VGTRK). The film, which as The Moscow Times reports, 'features a series of Skype conversations allegedly between Navalny and Browder, in which Browder assigns Navalny different tasks aimed at “changing constitutional order” in Russia,' made the claim that the CIA had organ­ised the with­hold­ing of med­ical care to Sergei Mag­nit­sky while he was held in a pre-trial detention centre. 

In a response to the film, the Sergei Magnitsky Justice Campaign said: 'The Kremlin’s pro­pa­ganda is in con­tra­dic­tion with all offi­cial Russ­ian doc­u­ments describ­ing the tor­tur­ous con­di­tions that had been cre­ated by Russ­ian author­i­ties for Sergei Mag­nit­sky dur­ing his 358 days in deten­tion and the fact that senior offi­cials in the Russ­ian Gen­eral Prosecutor’s Office refused his writ­ten requests for med­ical atten­tion.' 

Allegations by Pavel Karpov against Browder and Navalny are not new. In December 2015 Pavel Karpov had accused Aleksei Navalny of having ties to Bill Browder, among other things saying the Russian opposition politician had been active in 'promoting and spreading' videos made by Browder exposing Karpov's role in Magnitsky's death. In 2013 the English high court threw out a libel claim brought by Pavel Karpov against Bill Browder in connection with the latter's campaign for justice for Sergei Magnitsky. In March 2015, a Russian court had awarded Karpov 100,000 roubles in a defamation suit he brought against Browder.

As The Moscow Times points out, 'Magnitsky died in 2009 under suspicious circumstances while in police custody. He allegedly had just uncovered a tax fraud involving several Russian officials.' Since the death of Sergei Magnitsky, Bill Browder has campaigned tirelessly for the passing of legislation in the US, the EU and other countries for the adoption of legislation that would introduce sanctions against those involved in the death of Sergei Magnitsky. On 14 December 2012 the U.S. introduced the Magnitsky Act banning certain Russians involved in human rights violations from entering the U.S. Currently, 39 individuals are on the 'Magnitsky List'.

Photo: Wikipedia

'Russian Investigators to Question Browder on Magnitsky Killing,' The Moscow Times, 14 April 2016
Daria Litvinova, Anastasia Bazenkova, 'Navalny to Sue Media Holding VGTRK Over Browder-Link Accusations,' The Moscow Times, 11 April 2016
'Kremlin’s TV Accused the CIA of a Plot to Cause the Death of Sergei Magnitsky,' Law and Order in Russia, 14 April 2016
Eva Hartog, 'Magnitsky Policeman Karpov Accuses Navalny of Plotting With Bill Browder,' The Moscow Times, 11 December 2015
Lisa O'Carroll, 'Sergei Magnitsky libel claim struck out in landmark ruling,' The Guardian, 13 October 2013
'Ex-Russian investigator wins $1,700 from Hermitage Capital,' RAPSI, 10 March 2015