By Lucy Komisar
May 31, 2019
What happens when a US lawyer files a court statement that is perjured?
Jonathan Winer, a Washington DC counsel to convicted tax evader William Browder, filed a declaration this week supporting a legal petition of Browder‘s Hermitage Capital Management to get banks operating in the US to provide documents he says he needs to defend himself against Russian charges of tax evasion.
It’s Case 1:19-mc-00262-JMF Document 6 Filed 05/28/19 Go to http://pacer.gov for the file.
Winer writes “I declare under penalty of perjury under the laws of the United States of America that the foregoing is true and correct.”
So, let‘s see how much what he says is true and how much is perjury.
Winer says that the individuals who fraudulently obtained $230 million in a tax refund from the Russian Treasury took steps to retaliate against individuals who attempted to expose it, including Sergei Magnitsky (“Mr. Magnitsky”), a Russian attorney working for Hermitage and Hermitage‘s law firm, who exposed the fraud scheme and reported it to Russian officials.”
“In response, these corrupt officials ordered Mr. Magnitsky to be arrested and investigated for the crimes he reported to them, subjecting him to abuse which led to his death in a Moscow prison in 2009.”
A lie, and therefore perjury, from start to finish.
** Magnitsky was not a lawyer. Browder admits this in his 2015 deposition. Magnitsky didn‘t go to law school or have a law degree.
He was asked if Magnitsky had a law degree in Russia.
“I‘m not aware that he did,” Browder said.
Did he know if Magnitsky “went to law school?”
“No,” Browder answered.
** Magnitsky‘s testimonies, filed in the Prevezon case in US Federal Court Southern District of New York (the same court that will read Winer‘s declaration) list him as an auditor.
** Magnitsky did not expose the fraud or report it to Russian officials. That was done by Rimma Starova, the frontname for Boily Systems which had taken over the Hermitage Russian shells that were used in the scam. Here is her testimony in April and in early July 2008. Both before late July when Browder‘s lawyer filed a claim about the case and that story was published by the New York Times and Vedomosti.
** Magnitsky first spoke about this in testimony in October 2008, months after Starova and the news stories. So, Mr. Winer, please tell us when Magnitsky “reported” this crime. And send us a link to evidence.
Arrested for the reported crimes? There’s the matter of Magnitsky’s October 2006 testimony about the Hermitage tax evasion, over a year before that December 2007 tax refund fraud even occurred.
Browder insists that Magnitsky was arrested for “blowing the whistle” on the fraud, but nothing happened to either Starova or the Russian journalist who wrote the Vedomosti story. Nor to the reporter at the Moscow radio station who interviewed Browder a few days later on the subject. They all blew the whistle months before Magnitsky.
**Please detail the abuse. The only report on Magnitsky’s prison conditions and treatment, done by the NGO Moscow Public Oversight Commission, which monitors prison conditions, says conditions were dreadful for everyone and that Magnitsky did not get proper medical care. The Physicians for Human Rights in Cambridge, Mass, repeated those findings.
Then he says the Prevezon case, which the Justice Department brought as Browder‘s proxy to muddy the water about his tax evasion, “was settled on May 17, 2017 for the full amount of the funds ($5,896,33.65) derived from crimes undertaken by the Criminal Enterprise laundered into New York real estate and then frozen by the United States.”
**But Mr. Winer, there was never proof filed in the Prevezon case that the money or the settlement was derived from any crimes. Can you provide evidence that they were? Did you just make this up?
He writes: “The U.S. Congress has recognized the existence of this conspiracy, and in response to the killing of Mr. Magnitsky by Criminal Enterprise enacted legislation to punish those involved.”
**It is true the Congress did this. It is also true that this was based on claims written by you, Mr. Winer, for which you provided no evidence. It was a political decision by the Congress. Can you provide evidence to support this “conspiracy”?
Winer writes that “on December 11, 2013, Mr. Browder and the deceased Mr. Magnitsky were each found guilty by a Russian court, Mr. Magnitsky posthumously, of frauds for activities that had previously been reviewed and found to be lawful.”
A deception. The court looked into the case of Magnitsky because his family requested it to “rehabilitate” his reputation, but though it found him guilty, it dropped the case because he was deceased. In Russia you cannot convict deceased persons. Here’s the decision. Does Winer not know this?
The tax evasion was not found lawful, the files were accepted as they are routinely in many countries. Until investigators discovered they were fraudulent.
Winer writes, “On December 11, 2018, Mr. Browder was again indicted by Russia in a Moscow court in a case now alleging that he, Mr. Cherkasov, and other officers and employees of Hermitage, as well as an external law firm, violated Russian tax laws more than 20 years ago, in 1997, by engaging in a criminal conspiracy relating to the firms and funds involved in the original tax $230 million refund fraud.”
**This is deliberately misleading. Hermitage fund and firms cheated on taxes in the early 2000s. Some of the same shell companies were involved in the 2007 tax refund fraud. The Russians do not conflate one with the other. What is Winer trying to obfuscate?
Then he says “This is the crime that was actually undertaken by the Criminal Enterprise with the participation of corrupt Russian officials, which Mr. Magnitsky investigated and exposed, and reported to Russian authorities, prompting his arrest, imprisonment, torture, and death in a Russian prison.”
**OMG, we know Magnitsky didn‘t investigate or expose anything or report anything. So, here‘s an interesting point. The testimony of Paul Wrench, a director of HSBC Management (Guernsey) the management company for Browder’s Cyprus shells, Glendora and Kone, which owned the three stolen Russian shells, Rilend, Makaon and Parfenion. He filed a complaint for Hermitage in July 2008 about the $230 million fraud. That is when Browder gave the story to the New York Times and Vedomosti .
Wrench was asked in a sworn deposition in US federal court in the Prevezon case November 2015, who he had discussed the complaint with.
Q. Did you discuss this document with anyone at the time you signed it
A. At the time I signed it? I would have discussed this document before signing it.
Q. With whom?
A. With Ivan Cherkasov. [Browder‘s partner.]
Q. Anyone else that you recall?
A. Not that I recall.
Six years after Magnitsky‘s death, with Browder shouting to the world Magnitsky was a whistleblower, Wrench under oath and avoiding perjury does not back Browder up.
**Torture? Go back to reports of the Moscow Public Oversight Commission and Physicians for Human Rights, Cambridge, Mass. The word torture is never ever mentioned. Mr. Winer, why did you invent this?
Now Browder demands that thirteen US banks provide data from correspondent accounts of 38 international banks, including banks in Europe, the former Eastern Europe, the United Arab Emirates, to defend himself against 2004 tax evasion charges by using the same fake claims that the case is really about protecting Russian officials he says colluded in the tax refund fraud against the Russian Treasury in 2007.
The banks‘ responses of course will be written by their lawyers. But they will want to examine the Winer declaration, which is one demonstrated perjury after another.
This is the first time that Browder’s fabricated charges, promoted in the Prevezon case by his acolytes in the US Justice Department, will be examined by powerful challengers – the big international banks. Stay tuned.