CEO of Hermitage Capital Management Ltd., William Browder speaking with The Associated Press in Davos, Switzerland in 2011.
The State Department has reportedly revoked a visa for British citizen Bill Browder, a hedge-fund manager-turned human-rights activist responsible for the Magnitsky Act. The 2012 U.S. law is aimed at punishing Russian officials believed responsible for the death in a Moscow prison of Sergei Magnitsky, who was allegedly beaten and denied medical care.
The cancelling of Browder’s visa came on the same day that the Kremlin issued yet another international arrest warrant for him via Interpol.
The Magnitsky Act, which freezes the assets and bans visas for certain Russians, including those close to Vladimir Putin “touched off a nasty confrontation with the Kremlin, and the two sides have been trying ever since to undermine the credibility of the other. Recently, however, Russian prosecutors have taken that effort to a remarkable new level, claiming that Mr. Magnitsky was actually murdered by Mr. Browder,” according to The New York Times.
Browder, who testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee in July, was once the largest private foreign investor in Russia. Magnitsky was his accountant and attorney. You can hear him here in a July interview with NPR, with a thorough take here by NPR’s Miles Parks.
“The Magnitsky Act re-emerged has a front-burner topic … in connection with the investigations surrounding President Trump’s campaign and possible links to Russian meddling in last year’s presidential race.
Russia has lobbied hard for repeal of the act. That’s what Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya said she was doing when she met with Donald Trump Jr. in June 2016 at Trump Tower in New York.”
Euobserver writes that, as in the previous four “Red Notices” rejected by Interpol, the latest such notice exploits a loophole called a “diffusion notice.”
According to the websites:
“Interpol rejected them all on grounds that they were politically motivated, but Interpol member states can file diffusions without any oversight.
“The diffusions, which are circulated to all members, often stay in national police databases even if Interpol later deletes them from its central system.”
The latest move by Russia has angered defenders of Browder, including Michael McFaul, the ambassador to Russia under President Obama from 2012-2014.
McFaul tweeted “this is outrageous,” and called on President Trump and the State Department to “fix this now.”
McFaul’s concern was picked up by Preet Bharara, the former U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York who was fired earlier this year by President Trump. Bharara “seconded” McFaul in the retweet, adding in a subsequent tweet that Russia’s allegation that Browder may have murdered Magnitsky is a “farce.”
CorrectionOct. 23, 2017
A previous headline for this story said the State Department had reportedly revoked a visit for Browder. It was a visa that was revoked.
Nikolai Gorokhov Will Make a Third Attempt to Open Criminal Case Against Corrupt Russian Police Officers Who Covered Up Sergei Magnitsky’s Death in Custody
2 June 2017 – Today, Nikolai Gorokhov, the lawyer for Sergei Magnitsky’s mother, will make a third attempt to open a criminal investigation into the abuse of office by officer Strizhov of the Investigative Committee in the Sergei Magnitsky death case and the cover-up of the US$230 million fraud that Mr Magnitsky had discovered and exposed in 2008 before he was tortured and murdered in police custody.
The court hearing is scheduled to take place at 4 pm at the Basmanny District Court in Moscow with judge Safina presiding.
The application to open an investigation into the abuse of office was originally filed by Mr Gorokhov with the Russian Investigative Committee in January 2017. The Investigative Committee refused to open an investigation. Mr Gorokhov then filed a complaint against this refusal, which was due to be heard on March 24, 2017. The hearing did not go ahead because of the Mr. Gorokhov’s plunge from his fourth floor apartment in suspicious circumstances.
At the postponed court hearing which was eventually held last week in Moscow, it was revealed that the Russian Investigative Committee refused to treat his complaint against officer Strizhov as a crime report.
The additional evidence submitted by Mr Gorokhov to the Investigative Committee remained unanswered, leading to the third application filed by Mr Gorokhov earlier this week, which will be heard today at the Basmanny District Court in Moscow.
The application by Mr Gorokhov relies on new records of emails and WhatsApp communications between associates of the Klyuev Organised Crime Group discussing the arrangements with Russian law enforcement officers for the cover-up and tampering of evidence in the Magnitsky case.
The leaked emails and WhatsApp messages identify the arrangements being made between Andrei Pavlov, a key member of the Klyuev Organised Crime Group, who took part in the US$230 million fraud, and investigator Strizhov of the Russian Investigative Committee, who was in charge of investigating Pavlov and others as part of the Magnitsky death investigation and the criminal conspiracy Magnitsky had uncovered.
In the communications, Andrei Pavlov advises ex Interior Ministry officer Oleg Urzhumtsev of the arrangement reached with investigator Strizhov and Interior Ministry officials. Pavlov says:
“Strizhov will come to an agreement with Ryabtsev [head of department “K” of the Interior Ministry’s Directorate of Economic Security and Fighting Corruption] on his own, but it is necessary that Mityaev (subordinate of Ryabtsev in department “K”) is all for it, like I know it all, I will help with everything. He will later be the one to submit the study to Strizhov.”
The communications refer to various officials and organized criminals under both real and assumed names and aliases, including “Bald-headed” and “The Great.”
The communications further reveal the intention of the Klyuev Organised Crime Group to disguise and conceal their active involvement in the evidence tampering and cover up efforts from lawyers for Magnitsky’s family and Hermitage. In one record of conversation, Andrei Pavlov explicitly tells ex Interior Ministry officer Urzhumtsev:
“Fxxk. Even if the study is appointed by Strizh [short for “Strizhov”], then Gorokhov [lawyer for Magnitsky’s mother] and Antipov [Hermitage’s lawyer] have to be notified of it, it would be clusterfxxk.”
Within a month of these arrangements, investigator Strizhov closed the Magnitsky death investigation citing the “absence of crime” and accused Sergei Magnitsky posthumously of being a perpetrator of the US$230 million fraud.
Nikolai Gorokhov Returns to Moscow Court After Four-Story Plunge to Release New Evidence on Magnitsky’s Death Cover Up
24 May 2017 – Today at 3pm the Moscow Basmanny court will hear a complaint filed by Nikolai Gorokhov, the lawyer representing Sergei Magnitsky’s mother about new evidence of an official cover up of Sergei Magnitsky’s death in custody.
The previous court hearing which had been scheduled for 24 March 2017 in which Mr Gorokhov intended to present this evidence could not go ahead because Mr Gorokhov plunged four stories from his apartment in circumstances which many believe were intended to stop his activities.
The complaint filed by Mr Gorokhov alleges that an official cover up of Sergei Magnitsky’s death was orchestrated by the Russian investigator Strizhov, who closed the Magnitsky death case claiming there was “no crime,” despite injuries on Magnitsky’s body.
The new evidence submitted by Mr Gorokhov shows that investigator Strizhov worked closely with key suspects implicated by Sergei Magnitsky in the US$230 million fraud, while purportedly investigating them.
The new evidence comprises WhatsApp conversations and emails from the so-called “Pavlov Leaks” published on the Internet. The key conversations are between Andrei Pavlov, a key member of the Kluyev organized crime group, and his long-term associate, former Russian Interior Ministry investigator Oleg Urzhumtsev.
The Pavlov Leaks show that there were agreements between investigator Strizhov and members of the Klyuev group one month before investigator Strizhov exonerated Pavlov, Interior Ministry officer Urzhumtsev and other criminal group associates from liability for the US$230 mln theft and its cover up.
Mr Gorokhov filed a complaint against the refusal by the Russian Investigative Committee to investigate the new evidence of abuse of office by investigator Strizhov in Magnitsky’s death investigation.
The complaint will be heard today by judge Safina of Basmanny district court at 3 pm.
Canadian Parliament Formally Recommends the Canadian Government Adopt Magnitsky Sanctions Against Human Rights Violators
6 April 2017 – Today, the Canadian Parliament’s Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs has issued a formal recommendation to the Canadian government to update the existing sanctions legislation with the Magnitsky sanctions against human rights violators.
In their recommendation, the Committee said: “In honour of Sergei Magnitsky, the Government of Canada should amend the Special Economic Measures Act to expand the scope under which sanctions measures can be enacted, including in cases of gross human rights violations.”
The Magnitsky recommendations include:
1) Freezing assets of human rights violators,
2) Banning their entry to Canada,
3) Publishing a list of people and entities subject to these sanctions, and
4) Conducting an annual review of the Canadian government’s enforcement of the legislation.
The recommendation was inspired by the case of Sergei Magnitsky in Russia, but has been expanded to apply to human rights violators globally.
The Committee concluded:
“While originally focused on addressing the human rights situation in Russia, catalysed by the tragic case of Sergei Magnitsky, this movement now calls for the application of sanctions against human rights violators globally, and was instrumental in the passing of the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act in the U.S.”
The report by Canada’s Foreign Affairs Committee cites William Browder, leader of the global Magnitsky Justice Campaign:
“Effectively, with a Magnitsky act, whether it be a Russian act specifically or a global act, it would give people some hope that in Canada, the United States, and other places, people do care.”
The Canadian Magnitsky Recommendation is a result of a five-month review of the sanctions regime conducted in the Canada’s House of Commons.
“The Committee heard compelling testimony from a number of highly-respected human rights activists regarding how sanctions can be a potentially valuable tool in the promotion and protection of human rights. They recommended that Canada expand the legislative authority under which the government can impose sanctions against human rights violators,” says the Foreign Affairs Committee report.
The report by the Foreign Affairs Committee quotes Zhanna Nemtsova, founder of the Boris Nemtsov Foundation for Freedom, named after her father, a Russian pro-democracy advocate who was murdered in 2015, saying:
“These are not sanctions against a country or even a government. These are sanctions against specific individuals responsible for corruption and for abusing human rights.”
The Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs was tasked with the review of the sanctions regime on 14 April 2016 by the Canada’s House of Commons.
The Committee held the review from October 2016, by conducting 13 hearings where different experts testified on the legislation. The committee assessed related policy issues from government officials, academics, researchers, stakeholders and practitioners.
Today, the Committee published its final report recommending the Government adopts the Magnitsky sanctions.
As part of its recommendations, the Foreign Affairs Committee called for the Government to publish a list of sanctioned persons:
“The Government of Canada should produce and maintain a comprehensive, public and easily accessible list of all individuals and entities targeted by Canadian sanctions containing all information necessary to assist with the proper identification of those listed.”
The Foreign Affairs Committee also recommended that the Government publishes an annual report on the implementation of the sanctions regime.
“The Government of Canada should amend the Special Economic Measures Act to require the production of an annual report by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, to be tabled in each House of Parliament within six months of the fiscal year-end, which would detail the objectives of all orders and regulations made pursuant to that Act and actions taken for their implementation.”
The next step is for the Canadian government to consider the parliament’s recommendation and draft legislation.
For more information, please contact:
Justice for Sergei Magnitsky
+44 207 440 1777
22 March 2017 – Russian lawyer Nikolai Gorokhov, who represents Sergei Magnitsky’s family, remains in the intensive care unit at Moscow Botkin hospital. His condition is presently assessed as serious, but not critical. He is conscious and responsive and this morning Nikolai was able to speak to doctors.
“Our thoughts and prayers are now with Nikolai and his family at this difficult time,” said William Browder, leader of the global Magnitsky justice campaign.
Since last night, Russian state media carried statements from Russian law enforcement sources dismissing foul play.
Details about the incident with Nikolai Gorokhov were first publicised soon after the incident by life.ru, a Russian media organization reportedly connected to Russian state security services.
The details presented by life.ru and other Russian state-controlled media contradict the information available from eyewitnesses. The notable differences concern the number of workers at the scene who were delivering a bathtub to the upper floor of the apartment building where the lawyer lives, and the whereabouts of the people at the scene during the incident.
Nikolai Gorokhov was scheduled to appear this morning, at 10:50 am, in front of the Moscow City Appeals Court to argue the new “Pavlov Leaks” case exposing organized crime and corruption in the US$230 million fraud investigation in which all Russian officials were exonerated and Sergei Magnitsky was accused posthumously.
The new evidence submitted by Nikolai Gorokhov in particular shows regular communications between Andrei Pavlov, lawyer for the Klyuev organized crime group who was involved in the US$230 mln fraud, and Oleg Urzhumtsev, ex Interior Ministry investigator (sanctioned under the US Magnitsky Act), who helped Pavlov and others evade responsibility for their role in the crime that Sergei Magnitsky exposed. Certain Klyuev gang members are identified in the communications by their criminal aliases such as: “The Bold” and “The Great.”
The outcome of the hearing at the Moscow City Court today is not known.