Russia’s Prosecutor-General’s Office expects that the US Department of Justice will provide its response regarding the new charges pressed by Moscow against US-born British financier and founder of Hermitage Capital Management William Browder, Official Spokesman Alexander Kurennoy said on Tuesday.
"We hope very much that the current leadership of the Department of Justice and the US Attorney’s Office will take into account the information stated earlier. We hope that the process will be underway," Kurennoy said in an interview with the Efir Internet channel of the Prosecutor-General’s Office, TASS reported.
Russia’s prosecutors are ready to hand over more documents to the US colleagues, he noted.
Nikolai Atmonyev, Adviser to the Russian Prosecutor-General’s Office, told reporters at a press briefing on Monday that Browder would be placed on an international wanted list under new charges of setting up a criminal network. He did not rule out that Browder could have been involved in the death of his partners, including his associate Sergei Magnitsky. The investigators are considering a theory that Magnitsky could have been poisoned with a subversive chemical agent, and his natural death could have been staged.
"[At the briefing] we spoke not only about the crimes and the money, which he brought to the West. We spoke about the Magnitsky Act, which is based on a false theory of one man, backed by his accomplice," Kurennoy said.
According to him, the briefing was attended by representatives of many foreign media outlets. "The reaction was expected, we have certain practice of communication on this issue, and we did not expect any breakthrough or a shift in a stance on this issue," he noted.
Touching on the subversive chemical agent, which could have been used in the poisoning of Magnitsky, the spokesman noted that this substance had not been developed in Russia and in the Soviet Union. Meanwhile, NATO countries, including the United States, Italy and France had carried out a massive research and developed this agent.
According to Kurennoy, Browder committed serious crimes in the United States, including tax evasion. He had to register as a foreign investor when he became a UK national, and he spent funds on lobbying the Magnitsky Act.
The US colleagues kept silence about this and did not mention the information which Russia shared with them, he said. "We handed over more than 1,100 pages, which detail Browder’s crimes both in Russia and the United States, but there has been no response so far," Kurennoy stressed.
The Russian Prosecutor-General’s Office will continue making public information about Browder’s crimes. "We are moving in a right direction. This has aroused their great interest, but this is only the beginning, we will continue our work," he said.
The Browder case
Browder has been twice sentenced in Russia in absentia. On July 11, 2013, Moscow’s Tverskoy District Court found Browder guilty in absentia of massive tax evasion (estimated at 522 mln rubles, or $8 mln) and sentenced him to nine years in prison. He was also stripped of his right to do business for two years.
On December 29, 2018 Moscow’s Tverskoy Court sentenced Browder in absentia to nine years in prison, finding him guilty of tax evasion to the tune of more than 3 billion rubles ($45.5 mln) and bankruptcy fraud. Ivan Cherkasov, Browder’s business partner, was given a similar sentence. The court ruled to satisfy a civil suit against the defendants and ordered them to pay 4.2 billion rubles ($64 mln), while barring them from doing business in Russia for three years.