Moscow Court Set to Approve Arrest Warrant for William Browder After Death Threats to Coerce Main Government Witness to Testify
20 March 2017 – The Moscow City Court is expected to approve the repeat arrest warrant for William Browder and his colleague, Ivan Cherkasov on Tuesday, 22 March 2017.
There is currently a Russian arrest warrant in place for William Browder based on his 2013 Russian conviction in Russia. The new arrest warrant being requested by the Russian authorities is based on the same criminal case under which Mr Browder was previously convicted in absentia and his lawyer, Sergei Magnitsky, posthumously in 2013, involving Russian government tax claims against a Hermitage Fund subsidiary Dalnaya Step.
In order to justify the new arrest warrant, the Russian authorities have arrested Alexander Dolzhenko, a Russian insolvency practitioner. He was arrested in July 2015 and charged with colluding with Browder to falsely bankrupt Dalnaya Step. According to Mr Dolzhenko’s statement, he was taken to FSB headquarters in Stavropol and told:
“If you were a patriot of Russia, you would give evidence against the leaders of Dalnaya Step who had bought up Gazprom shares; it is necessary to take their foreign property.”
At the beginning of the interrogation, according to Dolzhenko, he was told: “Eight people had died in that case, the last one being Magnitsky, and … if I persist, that list would grow.”
Mr Dolzhenko initially testified against Browder, but the later retracted his testimony, stating that he “was forced to sign the interrogation report by blackmail,” and that he first heard the name of Browder from the investigator.
In November last year, in court hearings on the case against Dolzhenko held in Elista in southern Russia, he collapsed in court suffering a heart attack. He was taken to the hospital but the case carried on. When his lawyer protested during the proceedings, he was forced off the court room and a state lawyer was appointed to Dolzhenko.
It’s expected that Dolzhenko will be convicted later this month, with the final hearing in the case to take place on Tuesday, 22 March in Elista court.
His conviction is expected to be used by the Russian government to pursue Mr Browder in a new in absentia trial in Russia later this year and a new civil case in London which is ongoing.
“The arrest warrant decree does not correspond to the purpose of the criminal justice and demonstrates the denial of access to justice,” said Russian lawyer for William Browder and Ivan Cherkasov, Alexander Antipov.
For more information, please contact:
Justice for Sergei Magnitsky