Russian Prosecutor Chaika Reacts to DC Lobbying Failure on Global Magnitsky With New Attack on William Browder

May 21, 2016


For Immediate distribution

Russian Prosecutor Chaika Reacts to DC Lobbying Failure on Global Magnitsky With New Attack on William Browder


21 May 2016 – Within 24 hours of the failure of Russian-sponsored lobbyists to remove the name “Magnitsky” from the Global Magnitsky Act at the House Foreign Affairs Committee, at 19:39 on 19 May 2016, the Russian General Prosecutor’s Office responded by making a public announcement of the continuation of criminal cases against William Browder, leader of the Global Magnitsky Justice Movement, and his colleagues.


Lobbyists representing a Russian national who is under investigation for money laundering by the US Department of Justice, approached a number of members of the House Foreign Affairs Committee and staffers in the week of May 16, 2016 trying to convince the congressmen to vote in favor of an amendment to remove the name of Magnitsky from the Global Magnitsky Act.


They made a number of defamatory comments about William Browder, the head of the Global Magnitsky Justice Campaign, to justify their request. Their efforts failed, except on Representative Dana Rohrabacher, who proposed the amendment. The House Foreign Relations Committee rejected the amendment.


“In response to the failure of Russian state-sponsored smear campaign against William Browder in Washington, the Russian General Prosecutor’s Office decided to re-announce its illegitimate and politically motivated proceedings against him in Russia as “news.” These allegations are three years old and have been previously rejected as meritless and politically motivated by INTERPOL and by the Council of Europe, comprising 47 member states,” said Hermitage representative.


The re-announced criminal proceedings in Russia relate to The Hermitage Fund trading shares in Gazprom nearly twenty years ago. The share purchases had been reviewed at the time by Gazprom itself, the Russian Federal Securities Commission, the Russian tax authorities and the Prosecutor’s Office who all confirmed the lawfulness of the transactions.


“The unfounded, arbitrary and selective accusations in this case are hallmarks of politically motivated abuse of the criminal justice system, which has been characteristic of the Magnitsky case in Russia,” said Hermitage representative.


The Russian state attack on William Browder escalated since the press conference of Russian President Vladimir Putin in December 2012 where he was asked about Sergei Magnitsky on seven occasions. In response, President Putin said that he knew that Sergei Magnitsky was not a human rights defender, but “Mr Browder’s lawyer,” and promised to “delve deeper” in the case. A month later, in January 2013, Russian authorities opened criminal proceedings against William Browder in relation to investing in Gazprom shares nearly 20 years ago. This same case was the subject of the Russian General Prosecutor’s announcement on 19 May 2016, one day after Russian propaganda efforts failed to remove the name of Sergei Magnitsky from the title of the Global Magnitsky legislation in Washington, in spite of enlisting a web of lobbyists and consultants of all kinds.


The Russian anti-Magnitsky offensive in Washington was coordinated with the attacks on civil activists at home, with at least two new criminal probes announced against anti-corruption activist Alexei Navalny – one for allegedly slandering Pavel Karpov, sanctioned for his role in the Magnitsky case; and another for involvement in a purported CIA operation to murder Sergei Magnitsky in Russian police custody on instructions from William Browder.


“The Russian Prosecutor’s Office is spreading disinformation and abusing its criminal justice system to protect corrupt Russian officials and criminals who stole US$230 million. It is this brazen impunity which necessitates Western Magnitsky sanctions,” said William Browder.


Sergei Magnitsky, Hermitage’s lawyer who uncovered the US$230 million fraud and testified about the complicity of Russian officials in it, was falsely arrested, detained for 358 days without trial, tortured and killed in Russian police custody at the age of 37, leaving a wife and two children.


The unprecedented events of this case are described in the New-York Times best-seller “Red Notice. How I Became Putin’s No 1 Enemy by William Browder, leader of the global Magnitsky justice movement, and in a series of explosive campaign videos on Youtube channel “Russian Untouchables.”


For more information, please contact:


Justice for Sergei Magnitsky

+44 207 440 1777




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