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William Browder Hails the Estonian President for Being the First European to Sign the Magnitsky Law

December 9, 2016

PRESS RELEASE

For Immediate distribution

 

William Browder Hails the Estonian President for Being the First European to Sign the Magnitsky Law

 

09 December 2016 – Earlier today, the Estonian President Kersti Kaljulaid signed the first European Magnitsky Act into Law. The law will deny entry to human rights violators from any country to Estonia.

 

This is the first Magnitsky law to be adopted in the European Union.  It follows yesterday’s passage of the Global Magnitsky Act in the United States.

 

“President Kaljulaid has taken a quantum leap forward in the global fight against corruption and human rights,” said William Browder, leader of the global Magnitsky justice campaign. “We expect other European countries to follow soon. In the future, there will be nowhere to hide for corrupt officials and human rights violators.”

 

Speaking at a public ceremony today, Estonian President Kersti Kaljulaid said Estonia took the lead in implementing the recommendations of the European Parliament and the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) for the adoption of Magnitsky sanctions by member countries.

 

“The act was elaborated to consider the recommendations of the European Parliament and the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly regarding the refusal of a visa to those persons who are guilty of violating the human rights of Sergei Magnitsky and causing his death, which could be imposed in future similar situations.”

 

The law was signed as part of International Human Rights day in front of several hundred people at the Annual Human Rights Conference of the Estonian Institute of Human Rights.

 

Putin’s critic in exile Mikhail Khordokovsky attended the ceremony.

 

The Estonian Magnitsky law, introduced by Estonian Reform Party MP Eerik-Niiles Kross in June 2016, was passed in the Estonian Parliament yesterday with 90 votes in favour and zero votes against.

 

Sergei Magnitsky, a 37-year old Russian lawyer, uncovered and testified about a US$230 million fraud by Russian officials and organized criminals. He was arrested by some of the same officials he had implicated in his testimony, kept in detention without trial for 358 days, and killed on 16 November 2009. Russia closed the investigation into his death due to absence of a crime, promoted police officers involved in his arrest, and exonerated tax officials involved in the US$230 million fraud.

 

The Estonian legislation coincides with several Magnitsky legislative initiatives currently taking place around the world, including a Global Magnitsky Act which was passed yesterday in the United States, a UK Magnitsky Amendment which was tabled in the UK Parliament last week, and a Global Magnitsky law which is underway in Canada.

 

President Kersti Kaljulaid’s speech in Estonian:
https://www.president.ee/et/ametitegevus/koned/12780-2016-12-09-11-19-55/index.html

Vabariigi President Inimõiguste aastakonverentsil 9.12.2016 Tallinnas

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

President Kersti Kaljulaid signs the Estonian Magnitsky Law        © Kaupo Kikkas

 

 

 

For more information, please contact:

 

Justice for Sergei Magnitsky

+44 207 440 1777

e-mail: info@lawandorderinrussia.org

www.lawandorderinrussia.org

billbrowder.com

twitter.com/Billbrowder

 

Text of speech in Estonian and photos of the law’s signing:

https://www.president.ee/et/ametitegevus/koned/12780-2016-12-09-11-19-55/index.html

Full English translation of speech by President Kersti Kaljulaid: https://www.president.ee/en/media/press-releases/12785-the-head-of-state-proclaimed-a-law-at-this-years-annual-conference-of-human-rights/index.html

 



US Senate Passes Global Magnitsky Human Rights Bill, Makes Corruption Sanctionable Offence

December 8, 2016

PRESS RELEASE

For Immediate distribution

 

US Senate Passes Global Magnitsky Human Rights Bill, Makes Corruption Sanctionable Offence

 

8 December 2016 – Today the US Senate passed the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act, expanding the Russia-specific Sergei Magnitsky Rule of Law Accountability Act of 2012 worldwide.

 

William Browder, leader of the global Magnitsky Justice campaign, said: “The adoption of the Global Magnitsky Act is a revolution in the fight against corruption and impunity. This legislation will scare human rights abusers and kleptocrats around the world. It is also the beacon of hope for numerous victims of injustice and brazen corruption around the world. Finally, it is a recognition of the power of the sacrifice of one man who stood against the entire evil state machine.”

 

The Senate vote on Global Magnitsky comes after the passage of the bill in the House of Representatives last week. It now goes to the President for his signature.

 

The Global Magnitsky Act was sponsored in the Senate by Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Ranking Member of the Foreign Relations Committee, and John McCain (R-Ariz.), Chairman of the Armed Services Committee.

 

It was sponsored in the U.S. House by Representative Chris Smith, Co-chairman of the US Helsinki Committee (R-New Jersey), and Representative Jim McGovern, The Co-Chairman of the Lantos Human Rights Committee (D-Massachusetts).

 

The bi-partisan legislation is named after a Russian lawyer Sergei Magnitsky, who testified against corrupt Russian officials implicated in the US$230 million theft, and was arrested by some of the implicated officials, tortured and killed in police custody at the age of 37.

 

The Global Magnitsky Act widens sanctionable offences to include significant acts of corruption.

 

The Global Magnitsky Act creates consequences for corrupt officials and human rights abusers in any country around the world by denying them entry into the United States and access to US financial institutions.

 

Senator McCain said: “Last month marked the seventh anniversary of the murder of Sergei Magnitsky at the hands of Vladimir Putin’s Russia. Sergei’s torture and murder is an example of a problem that is unfortunately all too common and widespread in Russia and many parts of the world today: the flagrant violations of the rule of law and basic human rights.”

 

The Global Magnitsky Human Rights and Accountability Act, which is on its way to becoming law, will … send a clear message that if you violate the human rights and civil liberties of others, the United States will hold you accountable. In passing this legislation, we honor the life and memory of Sergei and affirm our commitment to all those fighting for freedom around the world,” said Senator McCain.

 

Senator Cardin said: “With today’s passage of the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act, the United States has added a critical tool to our diplomatic toolbox, making clear that gross violators of human rights and those who engage in serious acts of corruption cannot escape the consequences of their actions even when their home country fails to act…. Perhaps most importantly, passage of this legislation is a reminder to all those around the world who have the courage to stand up against corruption and human rights abuses, that the United States stands with them in solidarity.”

 

Congressional passage of Global Magnitsky has been part of the Senate’s vote on the National Defense Authorization Act for 2017 fiscal year.

 

It comes on the eve of two related days: December 9th is International Anti-Corruption Day and December 10th is Human Rights Day.

 

The Global Magnitsky Act authorizes the President to impose sanctions on any foreign individual the President determines is responsible for significant acts of corruption, extrajudicial killings, torture, or other gross violations of internationally recognized human rights committed against individuals seeking to promote human rights or to expose illegal activity carried out by government officials.

 

Global Magnitsky sanctions on these individuals include (a) prohibiting or revoking U.S. entry visas or other entry documentation; (b) freezing and prohibiting U.S. property transactions of an individual if such property and property interests are in the United States, come within the United States, or are in or come within the control of a U.S. person or entity.

 

In determining whether credible evidence exists to apply sanctions, the President must consider requests made jointly by the Chairperson and Ranking Member of certain Congressional committees.

 

Global Magnitsky also requires the President to report annually to Congress regarding actions taken pursuant to the bill.

 

For more information, please contact:

 

Justice for Sergei Magnitsky

+44 207 440 1777

e-mail: info@lawandorderinrussia.org

www.lawandorderinrussia.org

billbrowder.com

twitter.com/Billbrowder

 



Magnitsky Legislation Takes off on the European Continent with the Adoption of Magnitsky Bill by Estonian Parliament

December 8, 2016

PRESS RELEASE

For Immediate distribution

Magnitsky Legislation Takes off on the European Continent with the Adoption of Magnitsky Bill by Estonian Parliament

 

08 December 2016 – The Estonian Parliament has unanimously, with 90 votes in favour and zero votes against, passed Magnitsky legislation (“Act 262 SE”) and sent it to the President of Estonia.

 

“We will finally have the ability to ban entry into Estonia for those types of people who beat Magnitsky to death in jail and those who tortured Yulia Savchenko,” said Eerik-Niiles Kross, MP from Estonia’s Reform Party.

 

 

The Magnitsky legislation passed by the Estonian Parliament adds a ground to deny entry to Estonia on the basis of human rights abuse, under Section 29(1) of the Obligation to Leave and Prohibition on Entry Act.

 

The Estonia’s Magnitsky legislation supplements and clarifies the legal basis to refuse entry to known human rights abusers. The ban to enter Estonia will in particular apply in cases where human rights violations led to injury or death.

 

The new clause states that a prohibition on entry may be applied with regard to an alien if, “there is information or good reason to believe that he or she has participated in or contributed to violation of human rights in a foreign state, which has resulted in the death or serious damage to health of a person, unfounded conviction of a person for criminal offence on political motives, or other serious consequences.”

 

Estonia’s Magnitsky legislation was initiated by the Foreign Affairs Committee, and prior to yesterday’s vote underwent a review by the Commission of Constitutional Affairs.

 

The Estonian Magnitsky legislation passed three Parliamentary readings before its unanimous adoption today.

 

“This historic law will send a clear message to human rights abusers around the world that they will not be able to escape the consequences of their crimes,” said William Browder, leader of the Magnitsky Justice Campaign. “To have the first European Magnitsky law passed in a country which borders Russia is a fitting tribute to Sergei Magnitsky, whose murder in Russia inspired this legislation.”

 

Sergei Magnitsky, a 37-year old Russian lawyer, uncovered and testified about a US$230 million fraud by Russian officials and organized criminals. He was arrested by some of the same officials he had implicated in his testimony, kept in detention without trial for 358 days, and killed on 16 November 2009. Russia closed the investigation into his death due to absence of a crime, promoted police officers involved in his arrest, and exonerated tax officials involved in the US$230 million fraud.

 

The Estonian legislation coincides with several Magnitsky legislative initiatives currently taking place around the world, including a Global Magnitsky Act in the United States, a UK Magnitsky Amendment which was tabled in the UK Parliament last week, and a Global Magnitsky law which is underway in Canada.

 

For more information, please contact:

 

Justice for Sergei Magnitsky

+44 207 440 1777

e-mail: info@lawandorderinrussia.org

www.lawandorderinrussia.org

billbrowder.com

twitter.com/Billbrowder

 

Estonian Magnitsky Law:

https://www.riigikogu.ee/tegevus/eelnoud/eelnou/e51b847b-0c50-4e82-9ac2-8b004be00481/V%C3%A4ljas%C3%B5idukohustuse%20ja%20sisses%C3%B5idukeelu%20seaduse%20muutmise%20seadus/

 

Estonian Parliament’s website:

https://www.riigikogu.ee/istungi-ulevaated/riigikogu-taiendas-valismaalasele-sissesoidukeelu-kehtestamise-aluseid/

 

Why Europe Needs a Magnitsky Law?

https://www.amazon.com/Why-Europe-Needs-Magnitsky-Law/dp/2954629800

 

 

 



British Parliament Moves to Impose Magnitsky Asset Freezes on the U.K. Property of Human Rights Violators

December 5, 2016

PRESS RELEASE

For Immediate distribution

 

British Parliament Moves to Impose Magnitsky Asset Freezes on the U.K. Property of Human Rights Violators

 

05 December 2016 – Members of Parliament from all of Britain’s main political parties have joined forces to introduce Magnitsky asset freezing legislation in the UK as part of the Criminal Finances Bill.

 

The new anti-corruption legislation, known as the “Magnitsky Amendment,” will apply to those who are involved in or profited from human rights abuse, including those engaged in retaliation against whistleblowers on foreign corruption.

 

The Amendment can be found on the UK Parliament website: http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/bills/cbill/2016-2017/0097/amend/criminal_rm_rep_1128.1-5.html

 

The Magnitsky Amendment will enable both the government and private parties to apply for the freezing of UK assets belonging to human rights abusers and their beneficiaries. It will be part of the UK’s Criminal Finances Bill, aimed to strengthen UK’s anti-money laundering and counter-terrorist finance legislative framework.

Dominic Raab, MP for Esher & Walton who tabled the amendment, said:

“People with blood on their hands for the worst human rights abuses should not be able to funnel their dirty money into the UK. This change in the law will protect Britain from becoming a safe place for despots and dictators to hide their money.”

The cross-party initiative was sponsored by Dominic Raab MP (Conservative), Dame Margaret Hodge MP (Labour), Tom Brake MP (Liberal Democrat), Ian Blackford MP (SNP), Douglas Carswell MP (UKIP), Caroline Lucas MP (Green), and Sammy Wilson MP (Democratic Unionist). It is supported by an additional 20 MPs (see full list of supporting MPs, below).

 

“For too long the UK has acted as a safe haven for foreign kleptocrats and their ill-gotten gains,” said Dame Margaret Hodge, Labour MP for Barking and one of the initiators of the legislation in the UK Parliament. “We hope this legislation will help to end this.”

 

The UK’s new major anti-corruption initiative is named after Russian lawyer Sergei Magnitsky, who was tortured and killed in Russian police custody after blowing the whistle on a US$230 million fraud perpetrated by Russian government officials and organised criminals.

 

“The UK Magnitsky Amendment is a ground-breaking piece of legislation which sends the message to human rights violators around the world that their blood money is no longer welcome here,” said William Browder, head of the Global Magnitsky Justice Campaign and author of Red Notice: How I Became Putin’s No 1 Enemy.

 

“By creating personal consequences for the perpetrators of these crimes, the UK will protect whistleblowers such as Sergei Magnitsky around the world,” said William Browder.

 

The Magnitsky Amendment addresses some of the shortcomings of the UK regime, which currently fails to prevent international criminals from storing the proceeds of their crimes in this country.  A recent Home Affairs Committee report estimated that over £100 billion is laundered through UK financial systems each year.

 

The legislation targets those who have persecuted whistleblowers, journalists, human rights activists and members of the political opposition.

 

The Magnitsky Amendment enables the government, individuals and entities (including NGOs) to apply to the High Court for a Magnitsky designation order to be issued against an individual, where credible evidence exists that the individual was involved in or profited from human rights abuse.

 

Crucially, it places a duty on the Secretary of State to apply for a designation order if they have been made aware of incriminating evidence against an individual and it is in the public interest to do so.

 

It also places a duty on enforcement agencies to act once a designation order has been made.

 

There will be a publicly available “UK Magnitsky list” of people who are subject to designation orders under the amendment.

 

The UK Magnitsky Amendment is the latest in a series of legislative initiatives around the world to end impunity for those involved in the Magnitsky case and other human rights abuses, which include the 2012 US Magnitsky Act and a European Parliament Magnitsky list issued in 2014. The UK Amendment coincides with a Global Magnitsky law in the United States, which is currently in the final stages of approval in Congress, and a Global Magnitsky law which is also underway in Canada.

 

The Magnitsky Amendment was tabled before the commencement of the Report Stage of the Criminal Finances Bill.  The next steps for the bill will be a full vote in the House of Commons, followed by a vote in the House of Lords.

 

Magnitsky Amendment Sponsoring MPs:

 

Dominic Raab MP (Conservative)

Rt Hon Dame Margaret Hodge MP (Labour)

Rt Hon Tom Brake MP (Liberal Democrat)

Mr Douglas Carswell MP (UK Independence Party)

Ian Blackford MP (Scottish Nationalist Party)

Caroline Lucas MP (Green Party)

Sammy Wilson MP (Democratic Unionist Party)

 

Magnitsky Amendment Supporting MPs:

 

 

Rt Hon Andrew Mitchell MP (Conservative)

Rt Hon Dominic Grieve QC MP (Conservative)

Dr Sarah Wollaston MP (Conservative)

Mr Jonathan Djanogly MP (Conservative)

Tim Loughton MP (Conservative)

Mr Jacob Rees-Mogg MP (Conservative)

James Gray MP (Conservative)

Bob Stewart MP (Conservative)

Rt Hon Sir Edward Garnier QC MP (Conservative)

Rt Hon Harriet Harman QC MP (Labour)

Rt Hon Margaret Beckett MP (Labour)

Chris Bryant MP (Labour)

Catherine McKinnell MP (Labour)

Rt Hon Caroline Flint MP (Labour)

Rachel Reeves MP (Labour)

Rt Hon Ben Bradshaw MP (Labour)

Rushanara Ali MP (Labour)

Rt Hon David Lammy MP (Labour)

Ms Margaret Ritchie MP (Social Democrat and Labour Party)

Mark Durkan MP (Social Democrat and Labour Party)

 

 

For more information, please contact:

 

Justice for Sergei Magnitsky

+44 207 440 1777

e-mail: info@lawandorderinrussia.org

www.lawandorderinrussia.org

billbrowder.com

twitter.com/Billbrowder

 

 



Bill Browder to Give Damning Testimony On the Criminality of the Putin Regime to UK Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee

November 8, 2016

PRESS RELEASE

For Immediate distribution

 

Bill Browder to Give Damning Testimony On the Criminality of the Putin Regime to UK Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee

 

8 November 2016 – Bill Browder, author of the best-selling book, “Red Notice: How I Became Putin’s Number One Enemy,” and leader of the global Magnitsky Justice campaign, will testify in the British parliament today, 8 November 2016, at 3:45 pm.

 

The hearing entitled “Critics of the Kremlin give evidence” is part of an inquiry on the UK’s relations with Russia and is organized by the Foreign Affairs Committee of the House of Commons.

 

Mr Browder will speak about his personal experience of dealing with Russian authorities, who have declared him a threat to national security; his campaign’s recent discoveries connecting illicit funds stolen from the Russian people directly to President Putin’s cronies; the role of Western enablers in attempting to protect Russia’s kleptocrats in the UK, and the implications for UK-Russia policy.

 

Mr Browder will talk about the fate of his young Russian lawyer, Sergei Magnitsky, who uncovered the theft of US$230 million from the Russian treasury by a criminal enterprise involving Russian officials, and who was killed in Russian police custody at the age of 37.
After Magnitsky’s death, Russian authorities posthumously accused him of the crime he had uncovered and exonerated all officials.

 

The Global Magnitsky Justice campaign has uncovered illicit funds connected to the US$230 million laundered in multiple jurisdictions, including the UK, and a number of proceedings around the world have been initiated as a result.

 

The Global Magnitsky Justice campaign also calls for targeted visa and financial sanctions on those connected to Sergei Magnitsky’s death and the crime he had uncovered. A law imposing such sanctions was introduced in the USA in 2012. A similar legislation has been initiated in the UK.

 

The testimony by Mr Browder on UK-Russia relations will take place at Boothroyd Room, Portcullis House, and will start at 3.45pm on Tuesday, 8 November 2016.

 

Mr Browder will be preceded by Russian dissident Mikhail Khodorkovsky who will also give evidence to the committee.

 

For more information, please contact:

 

Justice for Sergei Magnitsky

+44 207 440 1777

e-mail: info@lawandorderinrussia.org

www.lawandorderinrussia.org

billbrowder.com

twitter.com/Billbrowder

 

Announcement of the hearing on UK-Russia relations at the Commons Select Committee:

https://www.parliament.uk/business/committees/committees-a-z/commons-select/foreign-affairs-committee/news-parliament-2015/russia-critics-evidence-16-17/

 

 



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