William Browder is a world-famous “activist” fighting for justice for Russian citizen Sergey Magnitsky, and the head of the self-financing global campaign for justice of Magnitsky.
Since 2009, Browder has told the whole world the story about a Russian Lawyer and his friend Sergey Magnitsky, who investigated and exposed a tax fraud of $230 million committed by the Russian authorities. According to Browder, Magnitsky was arrested and tortured for exposing fraud. In November 2009, Magnitsky died in custody, and the money from the fraud he exposed was successfully transferred to the accounts of various corrupt Russian officials, their families and friends. “Eight riot policemen with rubber truncheons beat him to death,” said Browder.
Moreover, Browder’s story about the “bravest man” he had ever met, Sergei Magnitsky, would be legitimate if there had not been a series of contradictions. The first and most important thing is that Magnitsky was never a lawyer.
In 2012, Browder filed a complaint with the New York City Prosecutor’s Office, consisting of thousands of documents drawn up by a team of lawyers and journalists about Russian tax fraud. In March 2015, Browder testified on a number of issues, including the Magnitsky case. When asked whether Magnitsky was a lawyer, Browder answered: “He was my lawyer.” Maybe this is true, but the fact is that Magnitsky never had a law degree and did not attend law school. In fact, he was an auditor who gave Browder tax advice in Russia.
“The question is: when you told people that Magnitsky was a lawyer, did you also tell them that he never went to law school and never had a legal license? … How many times have you said: “Magnitsky is a lawyer”?
A: I do not know.
Q: 50? 100? 200?
A: I do not know.
Q: many, many times, right?
Question: Have you ever told someone that he did not study at the Faculty of Law and does not have a law degree?
At the time, Magnitsky was an employee of the tax firm Firestone Duncan, based in Moscow, and received a power of attorney to “do certain things for certain companies. This is what Magnitsky said on one of his testimonies in 2006: “I am working on a labor contract at Firestone Duncan CJSC as an auditor.”
Browder’s further statement, which also has never been true, is that Magnitsky was convicted posthumously. Nevertheless, the judgement in the case of Browder and Magnitsky says: “the case is dismissed. An individual decision to refuse to commit a crime is made on the basis of paragraph 4 of Article 24 of the Code of Criminal Procedure of the Russian Federation. The further verdict states that ”William Felix Browder was found guilty of committing two crimes,” referring to Browder’s tax evasion activity while working in Russia. When Browder presented the document, he, stating that he was not able to interpret the document himself, adhered to his position.
Being in prison, Magnitsky told his cellmate Oleg Lurie, who was a journalist, about his case. Then, Lurie remembered that at the first meeting, Magnitsky was “sure” that Browder and his team tried to pull him out of prison, but when they met the next time, his confidence disappeared. Later, Lurie investigated the case of Magnitsky and his connection with Browder. During the investigation, he was contacted by a man claiming that he was Browder’s assistant and offering Luri money “in exchange for replacing the real facts with a lie.” “At my suggestion, Mr. William Browder called,” said Luri.
When he was asked if he investigated the grounds for accusing Lurie of his attempts to bribe to change the story of Magnitsky, Browder said the accusations were “completely nonsense.” He stated that his team compared the statements of Luri with “facts” and ”concluded that this is nonsense.”
“Q: Did you do any investigation about Mr. Lurie’s accusation that somebody used your name to attempt to bribe him and change the story about Sergei Magnitsky?
A: That’s complete nonsense
Q: Did you do any investigation?
A: My team did. It’s complete nonsense.
Q: What investigation did your team do?
A: They compared his statements with the facts and came up with a conclusion that it was nonsense.
Q: And what facts did they compare them to?
A: I don’t know.
Q: You didn’t get briefed on the details of an accusation that you had bribed a witness to change his testimony. Does that say you never got briefed on this?
A: I was briefed on it, but I don’t remember the details.
Q: You were briefed on it a few weeks ago, and you have no specifics to tell us?
A: That’s correct.”
As the deposition went on, it turned out that Browder has never provided his dear friend Magnitsky with lawyers, instead he just reimbursed Firestone Duncan for hiring them. Moreover, Browder never even consulted with Magnitsky’s lawyers and has no idea whether anyone in his team ever did that.
Thus, arises a legit question whether Browder really was a friend of Magnitsky who wanted to get him out of jail and fought for justice. Perhaps Browder was and still is fighting for the real story to remain buried.
Natalia Veselnitskaya – official website