Assange lawyers’ links to U.S. govt & Bill Browder raises questions

By Lucy Komisar
Nov 4, 2019

The network of lawyers in conflicting roles in Browder, Assange and U.S. government cases raises questions about Julian Assange‘s defense.

Ben Brandon

A U.S. government lawyer in the Assange extradition case just wrote a London Times oped promoting the Browder Magnitsky hoax. Ben Brandon is one of five lawyers in a London network whose spokes link to convicted tax fraudster William Browder, the U.S. government, and to both sides of the extradition case against whistleblower publisher Julian Assange.

Here is how the British legal system works. Lawyers are either solicitors who work with clients or barristers who go to court in cases assigned by the solicitors. To share costs, barristers operate in chambers, which provide office space, including conference rooms and dining halls, clerks who receive and assign cases from solicitors, and other support staff. London has 210 chambers. There are not “partners” sharing profits, but members operate fraternally with each other.

William Browder lies to U.S. Judiciary Committee.

Browder is key in the U.S. demonization of Russia. Assange has exposed U.S. war crimes. For lawyers associated in the British legal system to take both sides on that conflict would appear to be an egregious conflict of interest. But it fits with the U.S.-UK support of the Browder-Magnitsky hoax and their cooperation in the attack on Assange.

The law firm and chambers involved in the Browder-Assange stories are Mishcon de Reya, Matrix Chambers and Doughty Street Chambers.

Ben Brandon of Mishcon de Reya and Alex Bailin of Matrix Chambers co-authored an opinion article in The Times of London October 24, 2019 in which they repeated William Browder’s fabrications about the death of his accountant Sergei Magnitsky.

Brandon and Bailin in London Times.

The article aimed to promote the Magnitsky Act which builds a political wall against Russia. It is based on the fake claim that Magnitsky, the accountant who handled Browder‘s tax evasion in Russia, was really a lawyer who exposed a government scam.

Except that is not true, there is no evidence for it, and the lies are documented here. But the Act has prevented the Russians from collecting about $100 million Browder owes in back taxes and illicit stock buys.

Brandon‘s and Bailin‘s connections are notable. Law firms, at least in the U.S., tend to stake out their commitments. Lawyers who represent unions do not represent companies fighting unions. It appears to be different in Britain, where legal chambers have members on either side of some cases.

Mikhail Khodorkovsky.

Bailin is a member of Matrix Chambers, which was founded by the wife of Tony Blair, the former neocon Labor British Prime Minister.

He is solidly in the Browder camp. He represented Leonid Nevzlin, a major partner of Browder collaborator Mikhail Khodorkovsky, who according to filings with FARA (the Foreign Agents Registration Act), paid $385,000 for Congress to adopt the Magnitsky Act which has been used by the U.S. as a weapon against the Russian government.

Nevzlin‘s suit was for $50 billion against Russia for money allegedly lost by the nationalization of Yukos Oil. Yukos was obtained by Khodorkovsky in the mid-90s in one of then Russian President Boris Yeltsin‘s rigged auctions. Khodorkovsky‘s bank Menatep ran the auction.

Leonid Nevzlin.

He paid $309 million for a controlling 78 percent of the state company. Months later, Yukos traded on the Russian stock exchange at a market capitalization of $6 billion. Not surprising, after Yeltsin departed, the state wanted the stolen assets back.

To add insult to injury, Khodorkovsky laundered profits from Yukos through transfer-pricing and other scams. Transfer pricing is when you sell products to a shell company at a fake low price, and the shell sells them on the world market at the real price, giving you the rake-off. It cheats tax authorities and minority shareholders. See how Khodorkovsky and Browder did this with Russian company Avisma, which Khodorkovsky also got through a rigged auction.

The Times oped co-author, Brandon of Mishcon de Reya, has a startling connection. The day after an extradition request targeting Julian Assange was signed by the UK home secretary, Brandon representing the U.S. government, formally opened the extradition case.

Mark Summers.

Now look at another Assange link. Mark Summers, who is representing Julian Assange, is along with Bailin a member of Matrix Chambers.

But while he is Assange’s lawyer, Summers is acting for Assange‘s persecutor, the U.S. government, in a major extradition case involving executives of Credit Suisse in 2013 making fake loans and getting kickbacks from Mozambique government officials.

Does Assange and those who care about his interests know he is part of chambers working for the U.S. government?

And where do you put this factoid? Alex Bailin is representing Andrew Pearse, one of the Credit Suisse bankers that the U.S. government, represented by Summers, is seeking to extradite!

But there’s chambers where two members are each supporting both Browder and Assange.

Geoffrey Robertson.

Geoffrey Robertson is founder of Doughty Street Chambers. He is also a longtime Browder / Magnitsky story promoter. He has pitched implementation of a Magnitsky Act in Australia and has served Browder in UK court.

In 2017 British legal actions surrounding an inquest into the death of Alexander Perepilichnyy, he represented Browder, who claimed that the Russian, who died of a heart attack, was somehow a victim of Russian President Putin. Perepilichnyy had lost money in investments he was handling for clients and had to get out of town. Needing support, he decamped to London and gave Browder documents relating to his client’s questionable bank transfers. He died after a jog, Browder claimed he was poisoned by a rare botanical substance, obviously ordered by Putin, but forensic tests found that untrue. Robertson accused local police of a cover-up.

He is a legal advisor to Assange and is regularly interviewed by international media about the case.

And then there is OCCRP the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project.

Jennifer Robinson.

Jennifer Robinson of Doughty Street Chambers also has a Browder connection. She is acting for Paul Radu a journalist and official of the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP) which is being sued by an Azerbaijan MP. OCCRP is a Browder collaborator.


Here is what Wikileaks said about it in 2016. Not complimentary.

Browder admits in a deposition that OCCRP prepared documents he would give to the U.S. Justice Department to accuse the son of a Russian railway official of getting $1.9 million of $230 million defrauded from the Russian Treasury. The case was settled when the U.S. couldn’t prove the charge, and the target declined to spend more millions of dollars in his defense. OCCRP got the first Magnitsky Human Rights award, set up for Browder‘s partners and acolytes.

Julian Assange, incarcerated for revealing U.S. war crimes.

Robinson is also the longest-serving member of Assange‘s legal team. She acted for Assange in the Swedish extradition proceedings and in relation to Ecuador‘s request to the Inter-American Court of Human Rights Advisory Opinion proceedings on the right to asylum.

Why did Assange or his advisors choose lawyers associated with the interests of the U.S. government and Browder? Or how could those lawyers be so ignorant about the facts of Browder’s massive tax evasion and his Magnitsky story fabrications? It raises questions about how they are handling the Assange defense.

The individuals cited were asked to respond to points made about them, but none did.


Here is my audio interview on this issue on Fault Lines Oct 31, “The Avisma Scandal + The Link Between Browder & Assange.” The Browder-Assange part starts 13:20 minutes in.

And here is another Fault Lines interview Nov 22 that goes more deeply into the story.

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10 Responses to "Assange lawyers’ links to U.S. govt & Bill Browder raises questions"

  1. Pingback: Assange lawyers’ links to U.S. govt & Bill Browder raises questions – The Chaos Cat

  2. Thomas Busse   Nov 5, 2019 at 1:58 am

    I think we need to give serious consideration to the idea that the whole Assange Wilkileaks phenomenon was a big psyop – an intelligence operation. Yasha Levine writes about Assange in “Surveillance Valley” (p. 220-222) about how the Tor project (upon which Wikileaks is built) allows US intelligence assets to gain anonymity. Levine cites how Jacob Appelbaum was a highly paid military contractor who worked with Assange and how this was known to and even accepted by the Broadcasting Board of Governors. See page 230 of Levine’s book regarding the BBG and a guy named Roger Dingledine. Levine’s FOIA suggests Assange and Wikileaks were a government operation.

    Here’s Ruptly:

    We can see Assange isn’t getting maltreated in Belmarsh even though the story says he is. The images tell a different story. Likewise with Chelsea Manning, we got stories about how she was tortured – but was she? How do we know she didn’t just check in to a military prison and then shifted off to some CIA station in Latin America? I can see perhaps how there are multiple goals – official disclosure, a real honey pot for leaks, instilling fear in real whistleblowers, but also pushing the UK and abroad for better whistleblower protection laws and reforms (the reason being – greater US tax collections). Same thing in the US – pushing for reform of Grand Juries. Regarding “Collateral Murder” the fact is the Pentagon controls the White House, but this method of communicating sends a “we’ve got your back” to the troops while also officially disclosing war crimes.

    I want to believe in Assange, but something has been telling me I’m just getting played. He’s too handsome, too well spoken – just like Snowden. He has too much access to media, and the heroic publisher or heroic whistleblower fits into the whole storytelling P/R racket.

    This brings up the Magnitsky act – what is its *true* purpose? Is it to create a sort of sanctions regime authority for the president that bypasses Congress that Congress wouldn’t pass otherwise? Is Browder a cutout for the intelligence agencies?

    LK: I don’t believe Assange would subject himself to years of solitary confinement as part of this game. Or that Chelsea Manning would agree to be in prison for years. One assumes that Browder is connected to intelligence agencies, in the U.S. and the UK.

  3. Arby   Nov 10, 2019 at 8:52 am

    Thanks Lucy for this. My heart just sank. Poor, poor Assange. I’ll be linking to this, and providing a small excerpt, for my blog series on Professional Scam Artists (“A Yappy Trade Barrier”)

    I still have a copy of the In These Times article titled “Explosive Revelations”! You and Ken Silverstein opened my eyes to offshore tax havens.

  4. Arby   Nov 10, 2019 at 9:04 am

    To Thomas Busse: If you read Levine’s book (and I have), then you know that Yasha isn’t suggesting that Wikileaks is a State creation. Levine leaves room for doubt that Assange was clued into Appelbaum and Tor. Tor is indeed, a State weapon (the weaponization of the privacy movement). I don’t have much patience for those who would smear Assange and Wikileaks. The guilt by association you are deploying against Wikileaks and it’s founder is awful. Assange isn’t perfect but he’s a victim of criminals, not a criminal.

    Levine doesn’t say much about Assange and what he does say is unfair. He spouts the establishment line about why Assange entered the Ecudorian embassy and he spouts the establishment line about Assad’s “brutal” crackdown on protesters in Syria. I emailed him about those failures in an otherwise important and interesting book, but he never replied. Perhaps he never saw my email. (Emails, I have discovered, besides being vacuumed up the the war-making State for future trouble-making, can also be straight up blocked, as mine were, twice, by Google.)

  5. DAVID WARREN COKER   Nov 12, 2019 at 7:34 am

    Did Wikileaks publish even one line that was damaging to Israel? If the answer is no, then we know who he IS working for.

  6. Pingback: Julian Assange, William Browder and the British legal system: conflicts of interest? – The Komisar Scoop

  7. Maricata   Nov 29, 2019 at 5:06 pm

    The question I have is why is Jacob Appelbaum moving to Israel and seeking citizenship?

  8. Pingback: Assange lawyers’ chambers’ connection to conman Wm Browder causes concern – The Komisar Scoop

  9. Pingback: Wikileaks-Gründer: Psychische Folter in britischem Gefängnis - infosperber

  10. Pingback: Wikileaks-Gründer: Psychische Folter in britischem Gefängnis - infosperber

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