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Politically-motivated abuses of the criminal justice system

August 7, 2009

Excerpts from the report, published by the Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights on allegations of politically-motivated abuses of the criminal justice system in Council of Europe member states with recommendations on series of steps to strengthen the independence of judges and prosecutors across Europe to end politically-motivated interference in individual cases.

Inter alia the Committee calls for a series of reforms to reduce the political and hierarchical pressures on judges and put an end to the harassment of defence lawyers in order to combat “legal nihilism” in the Russian Federation, as a precondition also for successful co-operation between Russian and other European law enforcement authorities.


Declaration by the lawyer Neil Micklethwaite

August 6, 2009

Declaration by the lawyer Neil Micklethwaite filed in the Southern District Court of New York supporting a foreign discovery claim on behalf of the plaintiffs. This is a public legal filing containing allegations which have not yet been ruled on in a court of law.



Testimony of William Browder. Commission on Security & Cooperation in Europe the U.S. Helsinki Commission.

June 23, 2009

”Mr. Chairman and Distinguished Members of the Commission, thank you for inviting me to appear before you today.

I have been asked to share my thoughts on the rule of law in Russia. Unfortunately, my own personal experience shaped by fifteen years of investing in that country confirms to me that the situation in Russia is not a pretty picture, and it is getting worse.

When I first started Hermitage in the mid-1990’s, my clients would ask me about the Russian horror stories they had heard of shareholders getting wiped off corporate registries, having assets stolen by crooked management or being the targets of corrupt government officials seeking bribes. What I was able to tell my investors back then is that while corporate governance was terrible, valuations were cheap, and investors would make money as Russia evolved from “horrible” to just “bad.” I am here today to tell you that Russia is reverting. The investor horror stories that were largely fantastic in the 1990’s are now commonplace. The situation in Russia is going from “bad” back to “horrible” ­ and it will be more than just investors who lose out in this process.


Keeping politics out of the law

June 23, 2009

A report approved today by the Legal Affairs Committee of the Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly (PACE) has recommended a series of steps to boost the independence of judges across Europe to end what it calls “politically-motivated interference” in individual cases.

The report, prepared by Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger (Germany, ALDE), exposes ways that politicians can meddle with the law in four countries representing the principal types of criminal justice system in Europe, analysing high-profile cases such as the dropping of the BAE fraud investigation and “cash for honours” scandal in the United Kingdom, or the second Khodorkovsky trial, HSBC/Hermitage Capital case and Politkovskaya investigation in Russia.

Among other things, the parliamentarians call for:

• in Russia, a series of reforms to reduce the political pressures on judges and end the harassment of defence lawyers in order to combat “legal nihilism” in Russia.

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