Browder fake story of “theft‘ of his companies exposed; he hints at Five Eyes weaponizing human rights

By Lucy Komisar
May 18, 2020

On Fault Lines today, I spoke about the May 15th Australian Foreign Affairs subcommittee hearing on the proposed Magnitsky Act. Go to 2:28 minutes in. Here is a more detailed version of the key points.

This is breaking news. William Browder revealed Friday at a hearing before an Australian Parliament foreign affairs subcommittee that UK Foreign Secretary Dominick Raab told him about setting up an information sharing network with Canada and the U.S. on sanctions against their adversaries. All, of course, labeled human rights actions under the Magnitsky Act, also known as The William Browder Protection Act. Or the Weaponizing Human Rights Against Countries that Don’t Follow our Policies project. (Just don‘t look for Egypt or Saudi Arabia as targets.)

Raab had met with Fran§ois-Philippe Champagne, the Quebec-based Liberal MP who succeeded Russophobe Chrystia Freeland as Canada‘s Minister of Foreign Affairs, and an unnamed American. So, this could be the start of a new Five Eyes anti-Russian operation.

Browder talked by phone to the Australians to pump for passage of a Magnitsky Act. At the hearing only Browder and his acolytes were heard. Critics were not allowed to participate.

The Friday May 15, 2020 hearing of the Australian Parliament‘s foreign affairs subcommittee.

Citizens and foreigners were invited months ago to submit comments that would be posted. Browder and friends comments were posted. A comment by the alternative Citizens Party, founded in 1988, which was posted, said such laws as the Magnitsky Act “are not actually intended to be applied universally, despite claims to the contrary, but are a geopolitical weapon against nations targeted as adversaries of Anglo-American foreign policy.” Browder responded by smearing the party as Russian agents. My own comments have not been posted.

So, let‘s look at what Browder said. Here on audio. And here are the transcripts. After the chair‘s pro forma declaration of Browder‘s “obligation not to give false or misleading evidence which might be regarded as contempt of the parliament.”

He repeated the oft-told fable that in June 2007, 25 police officers raided his and his law firm‘s Moscow offices to get the stamps seals and certificates of his investment holding company “and the next thing we know we no longer own our investment holding companies. Using the documents seized by the police our investment holding companies have been fraudulent registered out of our name into the name of a man who has been convicted of manslaughter and let out of jail early by the police presumably to put his name on these documents.”

Except that is NOT how you reregister companies in Russia. Or any disgruntled worker could take stamps, seals and documents and steal the boss‘s company.

I emailed several Moscow corporate law firms. There are two ways to change the owners/shareholders of an LLC, which is what Browder‘s companies were.

The applicant for a company registration normally would be the head of the permanent executive body of the company or someone entitled to act on his behalf. If a re-registration involves a change in ownership, that must be documented, with, for example, a bill of sale.

The old and new shareholders (or their representatives with power of attorney) go to a notary and certify their signatures on the share sale agreement and on an application form for changing shareholders. In seven working days, the new shareholder is registered in the Register of Companies.

Or the shareholder can be changed by increasing the company share capital. The old shareholder registers that decision in the Register of Companies. The additional amount of share capital is paid by the new shareholder. Then the old one leaves the company, and the new shareholder remains. This takes 3 weeks.

After the company owners are changed, the designated official must fill out and submit forms for re-registration to the Unified State Register of Legal Entities, the Russian Register for LLC companies.

But it can‘t be done by some policemen or government officials armed with a sheaf of company documents, stamps and seals! Browder has never produced an alternative bill of sale or other documents.But I have a bill of sale dated July 31, signed by Oktai Gasanov, who had a power of attorney from Glendora, Browder‘s Cyprus shell company, owner of his Russian shell Parfenion. He signed it to Viktor Markelov, who was sentenced to five years for the scam, admitted Gasanov was his collaborator and also said he worked with a Sergei Leonidovich. Magnitsky‘s full name is Sergei Leonidovich Magnitsky. Read Markelov’s testimony.


This is the bill of sale, July 2007, Gasanov to Markelov.

Do you see where this leads? Bill Browder did the $230 million tax refund fraud! His Magnitsky hoax is a cover-up. This is a major world-class fraud!

You may hear more about it. In December 2018, Russian authorities indicted Browder for the tax refund fraud. A year ago, May 2019 Browder filed a petition in US federal court seeking discover from 13 banks about bank transfers to their correspondent accounts, which are accounts foreign banks have in U.S. banks. He said he needed the information to defend against a Russian indictment.

Back to June 2007. Browder tells the Australians, “I went out and hired the smartest lawyer I knew in Russia a young man named Sergei Magnitsky to help me investigate and unravel this ongoing fraud.”

Except Magnitsky had been his accountant for ten years, since 1997, charged with managing his Russian companies‘ tax evasion. Which is why the police searched the offices.

Then Browder invents how the tax refund fraud happened, that the people who stole his companies told tax authorities there was a mistake in their filing, they didn‘t earn $1 bil dollars, they earned zero. Then the $230mil of taxes that was paid in the previous year was paid in error and should be refunded. Which occurred in December 2007. He left out that he was part of the scam or how under his narrative corporate reregistration rules could let that happen.

Then he says, “I went to the press, TV, radio newspapers to tell the story.” Wait a minute, that was 7 months later in July 2008, after Rimma Starova, a hired director of the shell company that bought the Browder shells, in April 2008 went to the police because she‘d seen a newspaper story that the companies were being investigated and wanted to put herself in the clear.

So, to repeat. The bill of sale July 2007, the companies were reregistered after that, tax refund fraud 5 months later December 2007, Rimma Starova goes to police 4 months later April 2008, and with more details in July. Suddenly Browder tells the papers after that, in July 2008.

Magnitsky’s first interrogation was in Oct 2006, more than a year before the Dec 2007 tax refund fraud. Note #8 he is listed as an auditor, not a lawyer.

Browder told the Australians, “And Sergei gave sworn testimony to the Russian state investigative committee, their version of the FBI.” But it wasn‘t till October 2008 that he mentioned the theft of Browder’s companies. Three months after Browder told the story to U.S. and Russian press. Six months after Starova went to the police.

He also claims, “Sergei testified against the police officers who conducted the raid.” No he didn‘t mention their names in any of his testimonies, which were filed with U.S. federal court. Browder says the police officers he testified against came to his home on Nov 24, 2008, arrested him, put him in pre-trail detention. “When he was in pretrial detention, he was then tortured to get him to withdraw his testimony.” Testimony he never gave.

Of course, there is no evidence for any of that, and the Physicians for Human Rights of Cambridge Mass to whom Browder gave documents about Magnitsky‘s detention and death, did not buy the torture line. Their report is public. He died of mistreated disease.

Then Browder says they wanted to get Magnitsky to sign a false confession that he stole the $230mil and he did so on his instruction. Well that would have been the truth, Magnitsky organized the tax refund fraud on Browder‘s instruction. But Browder hung him out to dry.

Then we get to the end: “On the night of November 16th they put him in an ambulance and send him to a different prison facility that had a medical wing. They put him in an isolation cell, they chained him to a bed, and 8 riot guards with rubber batons beat beat him till he died.”

So, look at the Moscow Oversight Commission report done by the NGO that visits prisons. No claim Magnitsky was beaten. Look at the Physicians for Human Rights of Cambridge Mass. report which was based on documents Browder sent them and makes no claim Magnitsky was beaten. Total fabrication.

Browder gives his real purpose away when he attacks Dana Rohrabacher, former Republican congressman from California. “One member of U.S. Congress tried to take Sergei Magnitsky‘s name off the Magnitsky act and he was clearly in some way on the payroll of the Russians.” So, this is not about human rights, it‘s about building the Browder story to protect him from Russian justice. The Magnitsky Act is The Browder Protection Act.

The hearing schedule. Only Browder acolytes allowed.

A brief word about the others who testified: one Irwin Cotler, a member of Canada‘s parliament till 2015, who set up his own human rights group (this is common among Browder acolytes) the Raoul Wallenberg Centre for Human Rights, named after the Swede who saved Jews during WW2, later disappeared into the Soviet Union, was imprisoned, believed a spy, died there. Cotler introduced the Global Magnitsky Act in Canada.

But hear this about Cotler. On November 22, 2006, a police offensive was launched against the Montreal Mafia, the most influential and powerful criminal organization in Canada, run by the Rizzuto family. It had strong links to New York’s Bonnano family and controlled Montreal’s drug trade. A round-up of nearly 100 suspected mobsters was based on more than a million hours of taped conversations from wiretaps, video surveillance and hidden microphones.

Cotler was part owner of two companies whose two main figures invested millions of dollars with the Rizzuto family. Cotler owned a third of the shares in Faybess Investments and a sixth of Ace Investments. The police bugged his business partners, and their names came up at the corruption inquiry in Québec. Cotler claimed his role in the companies was passive even though he was co-founder and a vice president of Faybess. Cotler said he had no idea. How could he? He was Minister of Justice and Attorney General from December 2003 to February 2006. During that time, he was overseeing U.S. requested extradition proceedings of the godfather, Rizzuto. And he wants us to believe he knew nothing about Rizzuto‘s connections to his own companies?

Venezuela: Cotler asked the International Criminal Court to investigate Venezuela’s government and was one of 3 self-described experts who did an OAS report to submit to the ICC. He was a lawyer in 2015 for right-wing coup leader Leopoldo Lopez. Lopez now works with Juan Guaido‘s Popular Will Party which Cotler supports, calling for the sanctioning top Venezuelan officials to hasten the ouster of elected President Nicolas Maduro.

White Helmets: He was central to a British project to evacuate the terrorist White Helmets from southern Syria, and he nominated them for the 2019 Nobel Peace Prize.

Irwin Cotler has served on the advisory board of the United Against Nuclear Iran, a neo-conservative lobby organization that worked to undermine the 2015 Nuclear Agreement with Iran.

The others who gave testimony were Amal Clooney and Geoffrey Robertson, lawyers from the self-described human rights advocates Doughty legal Chambers in London. Lord Neuberger (David Edmond Neuberger unless you believe in aristocracy) former president of the British Supreme Court, and Vladimir Kara-Murza, of the Russophobic Free Russia Foundation. Clooney and Neuberger wrote a joint letter about the need to protect the rights of journalists. That is ironic since Browder has successfully blocked showings by the European Parliament and commercial TV networks and theaters in the U.S. and Europe of journalist filmmaker Andrei Nekrasov‘s exposé of Browder‘s fakery in “The Magnitsky Act: Behind the Scene.”

Robertson noted that he “represented Bill Browder in a defamation action brought in respect of his efforts to publicise the crimes which led to the death of Sergei Magnitsky.” He doesn‘t explain that the British judge dismissed the complaint for lack of jurisdiction, but said that, “The Defendants are not in a position to justify the allegations that he caused, or was party to, the torture and death of Sergei Magnitsky, or would continue to commit, or be party to, covering up crimes. ….I recognise that this will not prevent a repetition of the libel, which an order of the Court would do, at least in this jurisdiction; however, nothing in this judgment is intended to suggest that, if the Defendants were to continue to publish unjustified defamatory material about the Claimant, the Court would be powerless to act.”

Justice Simon’s key point: Browder libeled Karpov.

A note about former UK Supreme Court Justice Neuberger, to pick up where I began, when one of the parliamentarians asked him about UK Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab‘s meeting with the Canadian foreign minister and an American counterpart on setting up an information sharing network in Canada and U.S. on sanctions against their enemies, ie. using the Magnitsky Acts, Neuberger said this was confidential information he couldn‘t speak about even if he knew. Then Browder came along and spilled the beans about Raab‘s meeting, since he couldn‘t let his knowledge of this anti-Russian western statecraft go to waste.

This would show America and its allies weaponizing human rights, including the Magnitsky Acts, against countries that don‘t accept their international primacy. It‘s associated with a tactic by interests pushing for regime change to hide their real goals under white hats.

It‘s been nearly two months since I submitted my detailed comments, but the Parliamentary subcommittee has not posted them along with the others. Because they are critical of Browder, they have to give him a chance to reply. My report, with links to evidence, refutes everything he said in his statement, so I doubt he will a reply on the merits, just perhaps cite discredited endorsements by his acolytes and launch the usual personal attack.

Here is the Australian site from which you can download submissions. The total is over 100, with some consecutive numbers missing, so we don’t know what submissions have not been posted. Including mine.

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