More narrative gold... saving the Russian people from corruption...
"Russia has threatened Obama administration that will stop cooperation on Iran and prevent further deliveries of supplies to Afghanistan if Congress passes a law which has been criticized in the Russian practice of human rights."
Stop cooperating on Iran and cut supplies to Afghanistan? Somehow we have the feeling this smallish incident, this law, is the rattling lid on a big big pot of boiling nasty.
To impose sanctions on persons responsible for the detention, abuse, or death of Sergei Magnitsky, for the conspiracy to defraud the Russian Federation of taxes on corporate profits through fraudulent transactions and lawsuits against Hermitage, and for other gross violations of human rights in the Russian Federation, and for other purposes.
First clue. Introduced by:
Mr. CARDIN (for himself, Mr. MCCAIN, Ms. AYOTTE, Mr. BEGICH, Mr. BLUMENTHAL, Mr. DURBIN, Mr. JOHANNS, Mr. KIRK, Mr. KYL, Mr. LIEBERMAN, Mr. RUBIO, Mrs. SHAHEEN, Mr. WHITEHOUSE, and Mr. WICKER) introduced the following bill; which was read twice and referred to the Committee on Foreign RelationsMr. Kyl
and Mr. Lieberman, that despicable fucking twit.
The bill lectures Russia on corruption and democracy.
The bill LINKS TOGETHER, CONFLATES, the cases of Sergei Magnitsky and Mikhail Khordokovsky.
Critics also say his tactics were among the most aggressive of the oligarchs, and that Western media have overlooked the more unsavoury aspects of his past....After Mr. Khodorkovsky's arrest, tax police filed huge back-tax claims against Yukos. Unable to pay, the Moscow-based firm eventually filed for bankruptcy and its production assets, which included some of the best oil fields in Russia, were sold off at state-run auctions, as were Mr. Khodorkovsky's other main assets.
(12) According to the Financial Times, ‘A commission appointed by President Dmitry Medvedev has found that Russian police fabricated charges against an anti-corruption lawyer [Sergei Magnitsky], whose death in prison in 2009 has come to symbolise pervasive corruption in Russian law enforcement.’.SYMBOLIZING. Moving right along
from the unfortunate Mr. Magnitsky, whose unfortunate death has had a silver lining, Section 13:
(13) The second trial and verdict against former Yukos executives Mikhail Khodorkovsky and Platon Lebedev evokes serious concerns about the right to a fair trial and the independence of the judiciary in the Russian Federation. The lack of credible charges, intimidation of witnesses, violations of due process and procedural norms, falsification or withholding of documents, denial of attorney-client privilege, and illegal detention in the Yukos case are highly troubling. The Council of Europe, Freedom House, and Amnesty International, among others, have concluded that they were charged and imprisoned in a process that did not follow the rule of law and was politically influenced. Furthermore, senior officials of the Government of the Russian Federation have acknowledged that the arrest and imprisonment of Khodorkovsky were politically motivated.
(14) According to Freedom House’s 2011 report entitled ‘The Perpetual Battle: Corruption in the Former Soviet Union and the New EU Members’, ‘[t]he highly publicized cases of Sergei Magnitsky, a 37-year-old lawyer who died in pretrial detention in November 2009 after exposing a multimillion-dollar fraud against the Russian taxpayer, and Mikhail Khodorkovsky, the jailed business magnate and regime critic who was sentenced at the end of 2010 to remain in prison through 2017, put an international spotlight on the Russian state’s contempt for the rule of law. . . . By silencing influential and accomplished figures such as Khodorkovsky and Magnitsky, the Russian authorities have made it abundantly clear that anyone in Russia can be silenced.’.
S. 1039: Symbolizing and Evoking Serious Concerns About Russian Badness
The point of the bill then being to IDENTIFY the bad people responsible for Magnitsky's death, according to Hillary Clinton and Tim Geithner, two more people you can trust:
(a) In General- Not later than 90 days after the date of the enactment of this Act, the Secretary of State, in consultation with the Secretary of the Treasury, shall publish a list of each person the Secretary of State has reason to believe--
These people -- whoever they are -- shall have their visas revoked, will be investigated for money laundering, and have their assets frozen.
So who could they be, these terrible people responsible for Sergei Magnitsky's death? Here's the list.
TAKE A LOOK AT THE LIST. We don't quite know what to say. It looks like they are attempting to take out several departments of the Russian government. People who are doing their JOBS investigating FRAUD and TAX EVASION.
The list comes from The Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe, and Senator Ben Cardin,
who is Jewish, has taken the initiative to prepare this list and urge Hillary Clinton to impose sanctions on all these people who are part of the Russian government.
As Chairman of the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe (U.S. Helsinki Commission), Senator Cardin has held hearings on corruption, including a 2009 event that highlighted the case of Hermitage Capital Management, the company whose lawyer -- Sergei Magnitsky -- exposed a $230 million tax fraud scheme perpetrated by numerous Russian officials, including Artem Kuznetsov (left) and Pavel Karpov (right). Magnitsky died while in pre-trial detention, after repeatedly being denied medical treatment.
“I urge you to immediately cancel and permanently withdraw the U.S visa privileges of all those involved in this crime, along with their dependents and family members,” Cardin wrote in the letter.
The 60 names on the list include senior officials from the Russian Interior Ministry, Federal Security Service, Federal Tax Service, Arbitration Courts, General Prosecutor Office, and Federal Prison Service, along with detailed descriptions of their involvement in the case.
In other words, this bill goes after senior officials of Russia's Interior Ministry, which is basically like their FBI, as well as senior officials of the Russian Tax Service (like the IRS), plus some judges and other people. All for the sake of Hermitage.
And Sergie. But mostly Hermitage. Because poor Sergei can't be helped anymore. May he rest in peace.
Who is Sergei Magnitsky, and what happened to him?
The CEO and Founder of Hermitage Capital is William Browder, an American financier with British citizenship. His grandfather was Earl Russell Browder,
the head of the American Communist party from 1930-45. Browder's second wife was a Russian Jewess, Raissa Irene Berkman. She is William Browder's grandmother.
Perhaps explaining why the "American" financier said the following recently:
"The highest levels of law enforcement in Russia have been abusing their offices for political, criminal and retaliatory purposes since this whole saga began,” he said. “It is being done shamelessly, and the whole world watches on in amazement. Either the Russian President and Prime Minister are powerless to fight officials who are stealing enormous amounts of state money, or they are direct beneficiaries. Either way, it is a terrible condemnation of what is happening in my country."
Meaning: Russia. Which is a strange thing to say for an American.
international man of mystery?
Let's go back to two days after Magnitsky dies:
ONE QUESTION COMES TO MIND. QUI BONO?
Earlier Russian Mafia portal (rumafia.com) reported that Browder was accused of “large scale tax evasion” (Article 199.2 of the Criminal Code stipulates up to 6 years in prison). The investigation was opened in 2004 in Kalmykia, then the investigation was continued by the Investigative Committee of the Ministry of Internal Affairs. The investigators believe, Heritage Capital fund, registered in Bailiwick of Guernsey offshore, used a complicated fraud scheme to dodge ban on buying the shares of state-run Gazprom company by foreigners. The investigators gathered evidence that the firms affiliated with Heritage Capital did not pay over 2b roubles ($0.17b) in taxes.
The scheme to evade taxes was allegedly designed by tax advisor to the fund Sergey Magnitsky. He was arrested and died of acute heart failure in custody in November 2009 in prison hospital of Matrosskaya Tishina (the investigation into his death is going on). Magnitsky case was separate criminal proceedings and it was terminated due to his death.
This is another one of those incidents where we find a whole cottage industry sprung up around it, similar to the American missionary couple Martin and Gracia Burnham, who witnessed the jubilation of terrorists on 911. See: wheel of misfortune.
Mr. Magnitsky's unfortunate death has justified quite a lot of self-righteousness and finger-pointing by Mr. Browder.
Look at Mr. Browder. Are you not convinced that he is a self made man?
Browder was once the largest foreign investor in Russia.
"Hermitage is also seeking information from Citigroup and JP Morgan Chase, with whom the implicated Russian banks had New York correspondent accounts. They are alleged to have unknowingly received "the laundered proceeds of the frauds"....Hermitage is being represented by John Ashcroft, the former US attorney general, and US law firm Graves Bartle Marcus & Garrett."
On the same day he was charged with tax evasion, he released a youtube accusing Russian officials of fraud, racketeering and corruption.
The investigators accuse Hermitage Capital of the violation of the President’s Decree of 1997 ‘On circulation of Gazprom shares’ which prohibited acquisition before 2006 of the monopoly’s stocks by foreign-owned companies. Non-residents had to buy the shares on the LSE in the form of depository receipts at a substantially higher price.
Mr Browder and Mr Magnitsky have also been accused of tax evasion through several companies they set up in the Russian regions, including those incorporated in the ‘internal free economic zone’ Kalmykia.
So Hermitage purchased shares of Gazprom at the resident rate instead of the non-resident rate.... ? He's an American right? Non-resident rate applies. And then set up shell companies to avoid paying taxes... ?
Foreign investors buying Gazprom on the cheap.
And Mr. Browder is a media expert?
One of Browder’s know-hows is his use of western media in support - or instead – of legal battles. In 2002, for instance, he launched a media campaign against Gazprom which triggered extensive allegations of abuses by the management of Gazprom and auditors in the western press, despite the fact that the lawsuits against PricewaterhouseCoopers, the company’s auditor, were dismissed by the courts.
In the words of Bill Browder, cited by Alexander Dyck from the University of Toronto, ‘Our basic approach is to thoroughly research and understand where the corporate malfeasance is taking place and then go to great pains to simplify the story so the average person can understand what is going on.…. We then share the stories with the press. By doing so, we want to inflict real consequences – business, reputational and financial’
The country has changed and, as the Telenor case shows, it is now less sensitive to attacks by the western media. What Mr Browder - who in Russia has a reputation of a greenmailer - says is nothing new or unheard of. Yet, in his mouth the sad truth about corruption in Russia takes on the same ironic flavour as his attempts to put on Mother Teresa’s clothes.
So, a bit of a hypocrite then? Imagine our shock.
The questions William Browder would rather not answer, August 29, 2002
These personal notes of reporter Christopher Kenneth were taken away by William Browder, who refused to answer any questions from The Russia Journal, other than his dismissed cases against auditing firm PricewaterhouseCoopers.
To profile the business and personality of Browder, who has been crusading against corporate corruption in Russia, The Russia Journal had planned to discuss the following issues, but was met with a refusal from Browder.
1) According to information made available to The Russia Journal, on Dec. 12, 1999, Russian company Avisma Titano-Magnesium Combine filed a case in U.S. District Court, accusing a group of investors of stealing its assets and asked the court to help recover $150 million reportedly missing in the transaction. Hermitage Fund, Kenneth Dart and Dart Management were mentioned among the defendants. Could you explain what exactly was behind that case and what transpired after it was filed?
2) In November 2001, Hermitage Fund lost a case against Volzhansk Chocolate Factory. Michael Calvey, a managing partner at Baring Vostok Capital, which owns 50.4 percent in the factory, accused Hermitage Fund and you personally of greenmailing on the one hand and exerting unnecessary pressure on minority shareholders on the other. Were the greenmailing allegations correct? Did Hermitage try to manipulate minority shareholders?
4) Why was Hermitage suing PwC, and not Gazprom itself, if that is where the asset stripping occurred?
6) Euromoney Magazine recently rated Gazprom as the seventh best company in terms of corporate governance in the world. What, in your opinion, is the state of corporate governance in Gazprom and other Russian companies today?
7) Some investors say that the so-called corporate governance of companies in Russia is nothing but a PR campaign. Hermitage has stakes in many Russian companies. How does Mr. Browder react to comments like this?
8) A source told The Russia Journal that "Browder diluted Hermitage investors' equities by merging his funds Hermitage-2 & Hermitage-3." Could you explain exactly what happened – and the status of the assets held or invested – in those funds?
10) Before you came to Russia, you worked for Robert Maxwell and his pension funds. Maxwell's company was at the heart of one of the biggest scams in corporate history. Could you tell us about your job in that company? Did you ever sense Maxwell was looting his company systematically?
Well that was a long time ago, and probably those questions have Never Been Answered.
Leading the charges against the Russian government
for stealing their companies, stealing from the Russian people (dramatic flourish), and allegedly killing Sergei Magnitsky: Jamison Firestone. Browder's lawyer.
The investigation by friends of Magnitsky, led by the Jamison Firestone, the founder and managing partner of the law firm that employed him
drew on the resources of liberal newspaper Novaya Gazeta
and posted a video on YouTube which promises to be the first of a series on Col Kuznetsov and his colleagues that the group has dubbed the Russian Untouchables....Firestone runs his business in Russia from London,
from where he has refused to return to Moscow fearing he will also be arrested and imprisoned.
FURTHER READING on this case:
Russian Mafia: Jamison Reed, the noble outlaw Jamison Reed Firestone
Russian Mafia: BIO AND HISTORY OF WILLIAM BRAUDER / BROWDER
The real interest of Browder was, of course, not the protection of the three companies which had no existing assets any longer. And not the protection of the robbed Russian state - well, he was not so much noble. And yet, Browder continued to spend huge money on lawyers. This gave him the opportunity to discredit Russia. As he once terrorized "Gazprom", giving the information to shareholders about the machinations, initiating claims - and then probably making a good compensation. And the more Russian machinations attracted the attention of the international communities, the greater the influence of Browder was, even in spite of the search - no one will extradite him from London.
Source: "Novaya Gazeta" from 27.11.2008
We can't recommend it highly enough.
Jailed British Businessman Likened to Sergei Magnitsky, August 1, 2011
A British businessman who is being held in a Moscow detention center has fallen so severely ill that his lawyer says he could die at any moment. Darren Keane, 43, CEO of the Storm International gambling holding, is accused of letting two of the company's casinos operate in the city even after gambling was banned in July 2009...The case is apparently part of a bigger investigation against illegal gambling in the city. A police official told RIA-Novosti on Friday that a national search warrant had been issued for other foreign executives of Storm International who are allegedly in hiding. The report did not specify their number nor publish any names.
If he dies, that would throw some gasoline on the fire. Hmm?
Also, the statute of limitations on tax evasions will expire at the end of 2011, which will be VERY CONVENIENT for Mr. Browder, if he can just stall and delay the case, and change the subject to Mr. Magnitsky's death and all that horrible Russian corruption, until he's off the hook.
One of the recent most controversial criminal cases may be terminated in the near future. The case on tax evasion against William Browder, the investment fund Hermitage Capital manager, was presented to the Central Federal District General Directorate of the Ministry of the Interior to review further investigation prospects, and Browder is no longer on the wanted list....The Russian Mafia web-site (rumafia.com) found out that statute of limitations on charges of tax evasion expires that at the end of this year, so now it is important to make it clear whether there is time to bring the case to court. Viktor Grin, Deputy Prosecutor General of the Russian Federation, has sent investigators a letter in which he has pointed to the delay in terms of investigation and ordered to remove procedural flaws with the objective of sending the case to court.