U.K. Court Throws Out Russian Police Officer’s Libel Suit Against Bill Browder in the Most Egregious Case of Libel Tourism in British History

October 14, 2013

Today, the UK High Court threw out the libel suit filed by unemployed Russian ex-police officer Pavel Karpov against William Browder, Hermitage Capital and Jamison Firestone, as an abuse of the court process.

“I have concluded that these proceedings should be struck out as abuse of the process and/or under the inherent jurisdiction,” said presiding Judge Simon in the judgement read out today in the UK High Court.

The judge found that there was ‘a degree of artificiality’ about Karpov seeking to protect his reputation in the UK.

The ruling also stated that the claim should be thrown out because Karpov had little connection to the UK and the UK court would not be a proper forum to decide on Karpov’s inclusion in the US Magnitsky list.

The judge said that the impact of any UK judgement “would be unlikely to assist (let alone achieve) the most important of the Claimant’s stated objectives: his removal from the Magnitsky list.”
Karpov is subject to a U.S. asset freeze and U.S. visa ban for his role in the Magnitsky affair under the Sergei Magnitsky Rule of Law Accountability Act of 2012.

One of the key issues in the proceedings was how an unemployed Russian ex-police officer could afford to hire some of the most expensive libel specialists in the country, including Geraldine Proudler, partner of the Olswang law firm, Andrew Caldecott QC, and the public relations specialists from PHA Media. Karpov refused to disclose to the UK court who was financing his legal operations.

The British court system has been systematically abused by libel tourists from around the world to exploit the ‘pro-claimant’ bias of the English libel law. In this case, an unemployed Russian ex-police officer associated with a Russian organized crime group responsible for the theft of $230 million and the false arrest and killing of 37-year old Sergei Magnitsky, then tried to use the British courts to stifle the campaign to get justice for Sergei Magnitsky’s torture and murder in custody.

“What is particularly abhorrent about the Karpov libel suit is that reputable English solicitors and barristers would effectively become mercenaries to assist corrupt Russian officials persecuting their victims outside Russia,” said a Hermitage Capital representative. “Thankfully, the court took a decision which reflects natural justice and common sense.”

The judge noted that Mr Browder and colleagues of Sergei Magnitsky have conducted “a forceful international campaign” which culminated in the adoption of the Sergei Magnitsky Rule of Law Accountability Act in the United States last year.
The judge pointed out the unwillingness of the Russian authorities to respond to calls to bring to justice its government officials in the Magnitsky case who have been denounced around the world:

“In North America and Europe, there have been denunciations of what occurred, with individuals and organs of the Russian Federation accused of complicity in the… fraud and involvement in the murder of Sergei Mangitsky… In Russia, although there seem to be differing views, the official position appears to be that what occurred involved a fraud against the state and the death of a Russian citizen in Russia; and there is no justification for the extensive international response to these events.”

Russian ex-Interior Ministry official Pavel Karpov sued Browder, Hermitage and Firestone over the four videos placed on the Russian Untouchables website exposing the crimes committed against Sergei Magnitsky, the crimes and abuse Magnitsky had uncovered and the “untouchable” status of Russian officials who enjoy impunity in Russia.

In April 2013, Mr Karpov, by then no longer formally employed by the Russian Interior Ministry, was given an audience with the current Russian Interior Minister Kolokoltsev in which the Minister thanked Mr Karpov and six other Russian Interior Ministry officials sanctioned by the U.S. Government for their role in the Magnitsky case for the “job well done.” (http://rus.ruvr.ru/2013_04_27/Kolokolcev-o-spiske-Magnitskogo-grazhdan-Rossii-jeto-ne-dolzhno-volnovat/).


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