“The Magnitsky Myth” podcast: Lucy Komisar, host Joanne Leon


The American empire and its many tentacles. Podcasts & articles. Click the arrow.

Key elements: Bill Browder, Hermitage Fund, Magnitsky, Magnitsky Act, Magnitsky Hoax, money laundering, Mueller Report, Russia, Russiagate, shell companies, tax havens

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Guest: Lucy Komisar. A deep dive into the story behind the “Magnitsky Hoax.” Lucy tells the story of Bill Browder, Hermitage (his hedge fund) and how he managed to create a massive political weapon called the Magnitsky Act to protect himself and his benefactors and to use against others. The story also involves shell companies, tax havens, money laundering, Mikhail Khodorkovsky, Robert Maxwell, Gazprom, HSBC, Natalia Veselnitskaya, the Trump Tower meeting, the resurgence of the Cold War with Russia, Russiagate, the Mueller Report, and more. 

Lucy Komisar is a New York City-based journalist with a long history of investigating offshore banks and corporate secrecy and abuses. One of her current long term projects is the investigation of the Browder/Magnitsky hoax. 

FOLLOW Lucy on Twitter @LucyKomisar where there is lively and active participation in this investigative work and find her work at her website TheKomisarScoop.com

Around the Empire is listener supported, independent media. Pitch in at Patreon: patreon.com/aroundtheempire or paypal.me/aroundtheempirepod. Find all links at aroundtheempire.com

SUBSCRIBE on YouTube. FOLLOW @aroundtheempire and @joanneleon.  SUBSCRIBE/FOLLOW on iTunesiHeartSpotifyGoogle PlayFacebook or on your preferred podcast app.

Recorded on September 24th and 27th, 2019. Music by Fluorescent Grey.

Reference Links:

  1. The Komisar Scoop
  2. The Man Behind the Magnitsky Act, 100Reporters, Lucy Komisar
  3. The BBC and the European Court get the Magnitsky story wrong, Lucy Komisar
  4. The Man Behind the Magnitsky Act: Did Bill Browder‘s Tax Troubles in Russia Color Push for Sanctions?, Lucy Komisar
  5. Documentary: The Magnitsky Act: Behind the Scenes, Andrei Nekrasov


2:00 Intro, Lucy‘s background, how she met Bill Browder, investigating money laundering, Khodorkovsky, Avisma, Browder, Yukos, Peter Bond, Russia

9:00 The Magnitsky Hoax, how Browder/Magnitsky ties into other things like Russiagate, resurgence of the Cold War, Robert Maxwell, etc. 

11:30 Bill Browder background, Robert Maxwell, Salomon Brothers, telecom Peter Star, Edmond Safra, IMF funds, Beny Steinmetz, Hermitage hedge fund, Mossack Fonseca, Ziff Brothers

16:30 Offshore shell companies, fall of USSR, “shock therapy”, shares/vouchers, Cyprus, Gazprom, Russia-Cyprus double taxation treaties, fraud, Kalmykia region in Russia, Browder tax evasion

23:45 Sergei Magnitsky (Browder‘s accountant) investigated 2006, Browder lost Russian visa 2005, Putin, 2007 Browder companies docs seized, Firestone Duncan, Browder says companies stolen

31:00 Magnitsky interrogated 2008, prepares to flee, arrested & imprisoned, HSBC (trustee for Hermitage fund), tax refund fraud, Renaissance, Prevezon, OCCRP, Browder media stenographers, Rimma Starova blew the whistle, Russian reporter Oleg Lurie met Magnitsky in prison, Magnitsky doesn‘t mention abuse to Lurie or human rights orgs, Browder doesn‘t mention to US House Human Rights Committee,  Magnitsky dies in prison in Nov 2009 poor medical treatment, Russian authorities investigate and report terrible prison conditions, medical neglect

46:00 Russia still pursuing Browder for tax evasion, Jonathan Winer worked for John Kerry‘s State Dept and later APCO, Khodorkovsky also client of APCO, Winer helps Browder craft a new story & strategy (“Magnitsky Hoax”) of Magnitsky murder, forgeries, used by media and govt for The Magnitsky Act, in his fraudulent document Browder names new culprits

54:30 Browder and Magnitsky Act help advance US anti-Russia foreign policy, OCCRP (Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project) helps Browder create docs, Magnitsky Act includes a section protecting Khodorkovsky

1:01:00 Documentary “The Magnitsky Act: Behind the Scenes” debunks Browder‘s story, banned from broadcast 

1:03:00 Ken Dilanian‘s May 2016 reporting on Magnitsky and Browder was killed by NBC, Robert Otto State Dept emails leaked

1:11:45 Trump Tower meeting, Natalia Veselnitskaya, Rob Goldstone, Prevezon case, Russiagate narrative, Fusion GPS, Glenn Stimpson

1:32:30 Trump-Russia investigation, The Mueller Report repeats Browder‘s Magnitsky hoax story

1:43:00 in 2016 Browder found guilty in Russian court and new embezzlement charges filed as a result of his tax refund fraud

1:51:00 Complexity of tax havens, shell companies, money laundering, purpose of Global Magnitsky Acts campaign as a political weapon

James Madison explains Russiagate: If tyranny and oppression come to this land, it will be in the guise of fighting a foreign enemy.

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4 Responses to "“The Magnitsky Myth” podcast: Lucy Komisar, host Joanne Leon"

  1. Pingback: “The Magnitsky Myth” podcast: Lucy Komisar, host Joanne Leon – The Chaos Cat

  2. Lubin Bisson   Oct 10, 2019 at 12:42 pm

    This is absolutely fantastic. Close to the very best summary of your arguments, Lucy.

  3. Yarkov Halik   Dec 9, 2022 at 10:15 pm

    I have read quite a few people who are dubious about Ms. Komisar’s motivations for investigating Browder, and question her motives. I find this puzzling. It seems that people who do this are missing the bigger picture. Investigative journalism is not meant to be a court of law. It enables people to see different sides and perspectives to then enable them to come to their own judgements. The point is not that such investigations are not about deciding whether Bill Browder is a bad person or a good person. The great contribution of Liberalism in the history of Western Civilization is that it separated legal judgements from moral judgements. The point is that all individuals are capable of misdeeds and that merely coming across as being genuine and well-intentioned is not sufficient. ‘The road to hell is paved with…’, etc. etc. That is why we have laws. You cannot build a society on love or good-heartedness. There may be all kinds of complicated motivations in Browder’s psyche for why he may have started this whole crusade for Magnitsky – a sense of personal guilt that he got Sergei involved in shady dealings with shell companies and tax evasion? But did he get him involved or did Sergei choose of his own accord? Who knows, we can speculate endlessly on that, just as we can speculate endlessly on who shot JFK in Dealey Plaza. Nekrasov makes the point towards the end of his film on the Magnitsky Act that he is troubled not so much by Browder’s fight for justice for human rights abuses in Russia but more when one person makes human rights into a kind of party-cause which might possibly be serving their own interests. But perhaps that is the problem with the whole notion of human rights: Proudhon once said that anyone who uses the word humanity in the politics wants to cheat. The problem with human rights is that it assumes it is possible to have a world without politics. And that means a world without human actors who can be held responsible for their actions. Some people say that “well, Browder with his offshoring was just doing what everyone else in Russia was doing at the time”. That, however, doesn’t mean that it was okay. If we followed that argument we would have to say that the Nazi’s were Okay, because so many Germans voted for them.

  4. Yarkov Halik   Dec 9, 2022 at 10:18 pm

    Ps: I think these remarks by Philippe Nemo from his book, What is the West?, are to the point here:
    “political leaders do not have – and will never have – a monopoly on or privilege of
    distinguishing Truth, Beauty, or Good. Men and women in government are
    individuals like any others. In fact, they may be worse because they have the
    potential to commit greater sins in view of their greater powers. Therefore, it
    would be foolhardy to suppose they have either greater knowledge, inspiration
    or vocation that would place them above the law. On the contrary, they require
    greater control to prevent them from doing harm. This implies the creation of
    institutions that check the extent of their power”


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