Costs Browder is CEO of Hermitage Capital Administration Fund and brain of the Global Magnitsky Justice Movement. He was previously the largest overseas investor in Russia prior to the region expelled him and convicted him in absentia of crimes after he exposed high-level Russian government corruption. The opinions in this posting belong to the author.
(CNN) Three weeks hence, as I was traveling to america, Vladimir Putin put me on Interpol’s most needed list. That meant I risked arrest at any international border and that as a UK citizen in addition, it meant my US visa was instantly revoked.
What was my alleged crime? For a long time I’d damaged Russia’s golden rule by challenging Putin’s brazen corruption.
I did so by advocating for the Magnitsky Action, a sanctions laws named after my attorney, Sergei Magnitsky, who was tortured and killed in Russian police custody after exposing a $230 million government corruption scheme.
In 2012, america became the first region to pass a Magnitsky law. It has been followed by similar laws far away: in Estonia in 2016, in the united kingdom in April, in Canada three weeks hence, and Lithuania will end up being conducting your final vote on its legislation this week.
The US Magnitsky Act and its own international brethren anger Putin a lot more than any other Western policy toward Russia. In May 2012 — three times after Putin retook the Russian presidency — he signed a foreign plan paper stating that fighting the US Magnitsky Action was his top overseas policy priority.
When the legislation exceeded, he’d vindictively banned the adoption of Russian orphans by US families. Six months afterwards he set Sergei Magnitsky on trial, naming me as his co-defendant. This is 3 years after Sergei’s loss of life: the first posthumous trial in Russian background. We were both located guilty of tax evasion, a crime we didn’t commit.
Putin’s anger at me is also personal. The recent Interpol notice came your day before the Canadian expenses passed. Because the passage of the US Magnitsky Action, Putin has attempted to use Interpol to arrest me five instances.
Thankfully, Interpol possesses seen these as blatant, politically motivated attempts to silence me.
Each request has been summarily rejected, including the latest. But Putin doesn’t simply use Interpol to express his anger. Russian agents contain threatened me via email, voice mail and text messages with loss of life, kidnapping and extradition. The Russian government provides accused me of espionage, fraud, tax evasion and other crimes — including the absurd assertion that, while residing in London, I acquired Magnitsky murdered in a Moscow jail.
JUST WATCHED Browder on Russia’s murder allegations Replay Considerably more Videos … MUST Check out Browder on Russia’s murder allegations 01:19
Why is Putin so furious? Because he believes his private fortune is now at risk. Bloomberg estimates Putin’s net worthwhile at around $84 billion , but I estimate it at $200 billion, producing him far and away the richest man on earth.
I believe that a lot of this cash is held in Western lender accounts owned by Russian oligarchs he trusts, including in america. The Magnitsky Act afford them the ability that some of Putin’s huge fortune could be frozen and confiscated.
This risk is quite real for Putin. Our analysis has shown that he individually received a number of the proceeds of the $230 million crime that Sergei Magnitsky uncovered and was killed over.
For the last eight years, my team and I’ve investigated the flow of cash from that crime and recently found that some of it finished up in accounts belonging to companies linked to the famous Russian cellist Sergei Roldugin, who personally received a lot of money of at least $100 million, in line with the Panama Papers.
This is actually the same man who was exposed in the Panama Papers as being a central figure in a network that received $2 billion from the largesse of Russian state banks and oligarchs without plausible explanation as to the reasons.
He also is actually Putin’s closest childhood friend from St. Petersburg, godfather to his daughter, and can be widely believed to be a trustee for Putin.
These facts go a long way to describe why Russia would have wanted to intervene in the recent US election. In July 2016, a Russian legal professional known as Natalia Veselnitskaya visited Trump Tower to take a meeting with Donald Trump Jr., Jared Kushner and Paul Manafort, who is right now under indictment on cash laundering and tax evasion charges.
Documents from that assembly show that the purpose of this visit was first to discuss the repeal of the Magnitsky Action and its own sanctions. We don’t know what was offered in return for that support, or how the Trump group responded. But it’s revealing that the primary factor Putin, through Veselnitskaya, wished to consult with the son of the future President of america was eliminating the Magnitsky Act.
This provides me to a larger point about Putin. The community may struggle to figure out how to proceed about his election interference, his military forays and his country’s cheating in international sports, but the reasons for they are transparent. They all come back to money and power.
Simply just WATCHED Browder says Russian intel plotted out meeting Replay More Movies … MUST Check out Browder says Russian intel plotted out assembly 00:37
The only way for Putin to keep his billions is also to stay in power. After 17 years, that’s becoming increasingly difficult. No matter his supposedly high approval ratings, Putin is running the Russian economy into the ground, causing common Russians to suffer grave economic hardships.
Putin deflects any probable anger and unrest over these hardships by stirring up a good nationalist frenzy and creating enemies whenever we can. That frenzy will only become more powerful as the Russian overall economy stagnates, and as he perceives his fortune to be more at risk.
We in the West shouldn’t have any illusions about appeasing Putin; he’s unappeasable because his difficulty can be intractable. He’s terrified of his own people deposing him. He recognizes he could eliminate his electricity and his treasured money — and perhaps his flexibility or worse.
It isn’t our place in the West to decide whether Putin stays or perhaps moves. That’s for the Russian people to decide. Nonetheless it is our task in the West to safeguard our liberal democracies and ourselves. Chaos can be what Putin wants, and we must not really allow him to have it. We must come together and stand firm; we must have him and his criminality at every juncture.
Various credit Putin with being truly a brilliant strategist, but he’s not. He’s got a weak hand, and he’s displaying his cards. The truth is we already have the various tools to have him. If he’s therefore hellbent on eliminating and preventing the passage of Magnitsky laws all over the world, then we ought to double down on them.
Any region with a Magnitsky laws should enforce it to the fullest level. Any region having a difficulty with Russia and that really wants to fight back should look at moving a Magnitsky laws of its own. We know these laws work because he’s advised us they do in no uncertain terms.
Of course, everyone really wants to avoid a military confrontation with Russia, but that does not mean we’re powerless to confront Putin. Applying sanctions from Magnitsky laws and regulations, we can struggle him with banks rather than with tanks.