Why Veselnitskaya met with Donald Trump Jr.: The Magnitsky Case & the Kremlin Plan to Kill Bill Browder. Boris Volodarsky, London School of Economics.
(Photo:Prison photo of Earl Browder, December 1917. )
Why Veselnitskaya met with Donald Trump Jr.:
The Magnitsky Case & the Kremlin Plan to Kill Bill Browder. Boris Volodarsky, London School of Economics.
“I’m due to meet Bill Browder at Mari Vanna, a favourite hangout for rich Russians in Knightsbridge. But when we get there the restaurant, with its rustic dacha-style Russian decor, leaves us both feeling slightly spooked. So we wander across the road to an anonymous sushi bar. Browder’s reluctance to avoid bumping into anyone with Kremlin connections is understandable. As he explains, matter-of-factly: “They [the Kremlin] threatened to kill me. It’s pretty straightforward.”
“American-born Browder is one of Vladimir Putin’s most prominent critics. For over a decade he lived in Moscow and ran the most successful investment fund in Russia. Initially, he was a fan of Putin’s. But in 2005 he was deported from the country. A corrupt group of officials expropriated his fund, Hermitage Capital, and used it to make a fraudulent tax claim. They stole $230m (£153m).
“Stuck in London, Browder hired a team to fight his case. The same Russian officials arrested his lawyer, Sergei Magnitsky, after Magnitsky uncovered the money trail and made a complaint. They put Magnitsky in jail and refused him medical treatment. (Magnitsky suffered from pancreatitis and gall stones.) After he had spent almost a year behind bars, guards beat him to death. He was 37 and married with two small boys.
“The incident had a transforming effect on Browder. “If Magnitsky had not been my lawyer he would still be alive,” he says. He describes Magnitsky’s death as “absolutely heartbreaking”. “If he hadn’t taken on my case he’d still be enjoying his life, being a father, looking after his wife. A young man whom I was responsible for died in the most horrific way because he worked for me.”…